From The Couch: Round 6

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on April 19, 2011

Corey Payne’s a Man, Jarryd Hayne’s a Milk Drinker: Corey Payne was right to stand over Jarryd Hayne when he refused to get up after a tackle on Friday night and demand he get up. Hayne was clearly faking injury, trying to win a penalty from the video referee. It is one of the lowest most despicable acts one can see on a rugby league field, the “simulation” that has blighted both soccer and basketball and has again raised its ugly head in league. Hayne was acting like a bitch and Corey Payne treated him like one.

It is no surprise that Jarryd Hayne was involved though. He is rugby league’s great cat, a little bitch who at nearly every opportunity takes the soft, prissy, cowardly and gutless option. It has always been his go. It always will be.

When Hayne did rise to his feet, realising he wasn’t winning a penalty and shamed by Corey Payne’s accusations of dog-like behaviour, the Parramatta skirt laid a headbutt on Payne, who responded by whacking Hayne right in the chops.

Both were sent to the sin bin. Hayne should have been sent off, for a headbutt is a headbutt and that is that but it didn’t matter: the player who had carved the Dogs to shreds in the opening quarter went to water when he returned, unable to respond once the vinegar was applied. Hayne cost Parramatta not only the momentum but a chance at two competition points and any respect the club may have around the league.

As is Hayne’s way though, he wouldn’t let it go. Hayne went whining to the press afterwards, calling Payne’s marginally high tackle a “dog shot”.

“It's one thing to dog-shot someone, it's another thing to mouth off after you've done it. If you dog someone, you keep your mouth shut. He wanted to carry on. I actually didn't want to fight but he threw the first punch,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hayne lives in a fantasy world, where he is a respected and liked player, where he thinks the world cares what he has to say. The truth is, he is nothing more than a low-down cheap shot merchant himself, a grub to borrow a line from Nathan Hindmarsh.

Corey Payne was right. Jarryd Hayne goes missing when the going gets tough. Any opposition player worth his salt will be rattling Hayne’s cage when they meet, hoping to continue Hayne’s run of nearly two years without playing near his potential.

Morons Incorporated: If the Brian Smith wants to instil any discipline at the Sydney Roosters, he has no choice but to sack both Anthony Watts and Todd Carney.

The case against Watts is fairly simple. He has been at the club less than six months, has yet to play a game for the tricolours, is a fair player at best and is recently accused of punching his ex-girlfriend and then hitting her from behind. It is a squalid accusation and one that should land him in prison if, indeed, true. The negatives with Watts far outweigh the positives and it would be an act of obscene optimism if the Roosters were to keep him on their books.

Word was, Watts was about to be sacked after the Todd Carney drink driving incident but the club feared being viewed as offering different standards between star players and regular schmucks. He is millions to ever pull on the Tricolours jersey.

The more complex case is Todd Carney. Legally, it appears as if he did nothing wrong on Saturday night. He was merely out on the drink. Any other player, the Roosters probably shouldn't blink.

With Carney, they need to wield the axe. The simple fact is, Carney again broke team rules and he lied to the club. Carney was out drinking while injured, a breach of rules at any professional sports organisation. He also said he was going to return to Goulburn to see his mother, something that clearly did not happen.

Todd Carney is a player out of control. It is sad but it is fact. Rumours of his off-season binging have to be heard to be believed and he found himself again in trouble with his drinking when arrested for drink driving, the judge in the case saying he is one step away from prison. Buy the ticket, take the ride, Hunter Thompson said. The Roosters new what they were getting with Carney. It wasn't going to be all Dally M's and Australian spots.

He is a ticking time-bomb and the Roosters would be well advised to dispose of him immediately. They have a six in Braith Anasta and the season is young enough that it can still be salvaged.

Keeping Carney though only signals that the Roosters will allow him to march to the beat of his own drum, a very fast and off-beat solo in the jazz improvisational style. This certainly won't be good for team morale with the Roosters already playing like a team without focus, drive or cohesion.

When Carney has been on the field, the Roosters have hardly improved either, suggesting his on-field performances are no better than an average player when he is on the drink.

For mine, his career is as good as over. If the Roosters want to be dragged down with him, they need do nothing more than implement the star system and give him "one more chance".

I am not against players having a drink. I am not against players going out. I am one of the few defenders of the modern player and his rights to exist as a regular man.

I am, however, stringent in my belief that the team comes before all else and what Carney has to offer simply doesn't outweigh the damage he has done and will continue to inflict. Carney needs to be dumped…and it should be a pure footballing call.

Stories of the antics of Roosters players have been out since the summer. They have got lazy and distracted. In their current state, they won't make the eight.

Well Done, South Sydney: This column's infatuation with Michael Maguire started back in 2009 when, midway through the season, we declared him the next great NRL coach. Since then, Maguire strengthened his resume with another title at Melbourne as an assistant before guiding Wigan to the Super League premiership. Over that time, Stephen Kearney took the gig at Parramatta and Maguire showed no interest in the Cronulla job. Maguire did well to avoid both gigs. He is going to harness the talent at South Sydney. He will wield a heavy axe and then he will instil discipline and defensive belief. Souths will be title contenders from 2012 onwards as the club finally hires a very good coach in his prime. John Sutton should be scared. He won’t play for Souths again. Rhys Wesser should be on the lookout for another sucker too.

Jack Reed Has A Bright Future: Young Brisbane three-quarter Jack Reed is going to be an outstanding player, a bustling centre in the Jamie Lyon mould. He has strength, skill and speed but it is his poise that has impressed me most in only a handful of first grade games. Jack Reed is a potential Queensland three-quarter and if I were picking the team this year, I would look at him ahead of Daniel Vidot and Jharal Yow Yeh, that’s for sure.

The End is Nigh for Danny Glover: South Sydney were in Monday night’s match up to their eyeballs. They defended with purpose, moved the ball well and had the Dragons reeling at times. John Sutton played his best game of the year (not surprisingly, after his worth was publicly brought into question), Chris Sandow’r reads were perfect and Sam Burgess made an impact in the middle. The upset was on with the Dragons up only 2-0 after 67 minutes.

That was until that fool, that moron, that washed up hack Rhys Wesser had what could kindly be called a brain explosion, grubbering for himself on the zero tackle. It was after the Bunnies had the Dragons on the backfoot after four repeat sets. It was moronic and John Lang nearly exploded on the sideline because of it.

He knew, like the rest of us did, that moment was the turning point. Game over. Souths lose.

It is time for John Lang to show some bottle before he retires, dumping his boy Wesser, who brings nothing to the side.

STOP PRESS: John Lang has cut Wesser with the smart money being on Wesser's last game being his Monday nighy shocker.

Tick, Tick, Tick…: Canterbury fans are still waiting for Matt Utai’s monumental fuck up that will cost the Tigers a game-and be sure, it is coming-but we were entertained in between by Utai’s giant falcon on Friday night. Despite a bomb to his wing, he paid no attention to the ball, which eventually whacked him right on the head. Memo to all opposition coaches: bomb to Utai and bomb all night…it will reap pretty hefty rewards.

Injury Update: The doctors, thankfully, had a fairly quiet week.

Shaun Berrigan (New Zealand): Warriors utility Shaun Berrigan will miss six weeks after breaking his arm. His injury is likely to lead to a recall for Joel Moon, unless Ivan Cleary gives Lew Brown a run in the centres.

Isaac De Gois (Newcastle): To the surprise of nobody, De Gois missed the game against his former club with a pectoral injury. He will miss a fair while longer yet and will be sorely missed by the Knights, who had Matt Hilder and Kurt Gidley share dummy half duties on Sunday.

Joe Galuvao (Manly): Went over on his ankle and will miss at least a fortnight with Jamie Buhrer set to start in his absence.

Matt Gillett (Brisbane): Gillett hobbled off for the second week in arrow. This accumulation of leg concerns may lead to a spell of a few weeks.

Jason King (Manly): Received a concussion early in the second half against the Warriors and didn’t return. Should be right for this week.

Alan Schirnack (Wests Tigers): Hurt his shoulder (AC joint) early in the second half but no word is out on its seriousness.

Brett Stewart (Manly): A late withdrawal from the Manly side again with an alleged hamstring complaint. Manly aren’t giving much away on the seriousness of the injury.

Zeb Taia (Newcastle): Taia's injury he sustained against the Dragons is much worse than first thought, a buldging disc being the diagnosis. At its worst, it could lead to retirement. More likely, he will miss the remainder of the season.

What is Really Wrong with Brett Stewart: For the third straight week, Brett Stewart was a late withdrawal on match eve. I get the feeling his injury is more serious than is being let on and it is perhaps a lingering recurrence from his major knee worries. Manly are a secretive club and I would not be surprised if Brett Stewart has broken down again. Serious questions now need to be asked on his fitness levels and whether he will ever be the same again.

The Slowest Man in League: “The runners approach the blocks here at Henson Park, the hill packed as we await the race of the year, the battle for to avoid being crowned the slowest winger in league. We have a hot field this year. As always, the field is littered with old white wingers. The field is open this year. We have no Daryl Halligan or Luke Covell in 2011. In the one, Anthony Quinn, some hope, particularly after his recent injuries. The two, Michael Robertson, who is as fast today as he was when he was 20, running around at Bruce Stadium in lime green. Mitch Brown in the three. He is among the favourites. Steve Turner in the four. He is the hotpot and is going to be tough to roll. Chris Hicks in the five. He has come back a cripple. David Simmons in the six. Lucky this doesn’t involve dogging tackles or he would certainly be odds-on. Luke Burt looks an old man these days. His walker has him right in the mix. Out in the eight, James McManus, probably a touch unlucky to get into the field.

The starter takes the stand. We have 100 metres to cover. It is the slowest 26 seconds in league, they say. And we’re off. Luke Burt, he has missed it big time. Perhaps his hearing aid wasn’t turned on. Steve Turner, he looks like he has cement in his boots. Mitch Brown is the early leader. Youth and the firecracker Tim Sheens regularly puts up him seems to have done wonders. David Simmons is looking left and looking right, hoping he doesn’t get touched. Anthony Quinn is clutching a knee but is fighting on with aplomb. McManus down the outside. Fifty metres in and he may have this won. Chris Hicks, he is going as fast as War and Peace: The Opera. Michael Robertson is trying the tortoise and the hare strategy here.

And we get to the line. Well, James McManus does anyway. He turns and does the form for the Sunday card from Kembla Grange. Second comes in eventually. It is Mitch Brown. David Simmons, realising it is safer up front, comes flying home like Pavarotti chasing a pavlova. Anthony Quinn hobbles into fourth, just in front of Chris Hicks, his spell in NSW Cup seemingly good for his health. Luke Burt has overcome a slow start to run sixth, though an 88 year old blind priest finished a reading of Genesis before Burt. That left Steve Turner and Michael Robertson fighting it out for the slowest man in league. It is a ding dong battle, slowed to a walk by the end. We have a new record. And the slowest man in league…Michael Robertson, the Manly winger incapable of finding a second gear.

Congratulations to Traz, who picked the trifecta of Turner, Quinn and Robertson. Drop me a line at and we’ll get the footy cards out to you.

Putting the Mock On: I must admit, I didn’t realise the powers I had. Last week I busted out a piece on Todd Payten, saying I didn’t understand the mystery yet  was prepared to admit that he was, indeed, a winner. That didn’t last long. Two stupid play-the-ball errors in the last ten minutes of Friday night’s match against the Titans, both of which led to tries on the next set, cost the Tigers the match in what was an unforgivable performance from such a senior player.

Kurt Gidley, Kicking For Gold: I’m not sure I’ve seen two more mongrel kicks go over the bar than Kurt Gidley’s first two conversions against the Sharks. The first looked like a shot I might play off the fourth tee at Wentworth but somehow made it over without going six inches higher than the crossbow the entire trip. Gary Belcher, quickly growing into my favourite caller, then compared the kick to something “like Bunny Pearce” might have shot. Brilliant stuff.

Ben Ridge is a Blowhard: The Gold Coast Titans backrower comes in with big wraps but to my eye he looks like a clown, both in terms of his ball handling and his physical appearance. It is time for John Cartwright to get Bodene Thompson back into the second row and Ben Ridge back to Queensland Cup.

Farewell, Olympic Park: Despite the ground being near dilapidated by the time I had my first taste of action there, I came to love Olympic Park, standing on the hill, freezing, smoking, drinking in a lumberjack coat with the heart of a warrior. So it is with a heavy heart that it is time to say goodbye to Olympic Park, being knocked down so AFL can continue their quest for world domination as Collingwood expand onto the old ground.

Olympic Park obviously has plenty of history in athletics but it is rugby league that I care about and rugby league that we’ll recall.

Amazingly, the ground hosted a State of Origin game back in 1990, 25,000 Victorians attending to see a controversial stripping call on Alan Langer and an intercept try to Ricky Stuart giving the Blues a 12-6 win.

In 1991, the ground hosted a Test, New Zealand winning 24-8 in what was a debacle of a performance for the Australian team thanks, mainly, to a poor performance from Paul Hauff. The match is notable for being the last Test played by Immortal Wally Lewis.

12,000 attended St George and Western Suburbs in 1993 but it was in 1998 that the ground became an integral part of the rugby league landscape, where it was the home of the Melbourne Storm for a 136 matches over a decade. It became known as The Graveyard for how hard it became for opposition teams to win at the ground, the cold nights, rabid fanbase and unique dimensions playing a big role in providing the Storm with the biggest home ground advantage in the NRL.

It is soon to be gone though and I for one will miss it. AAMI Park is good for league in Melbourne but Olympic Park was good for the loyal league man. Cold, tough, hard to see but easy to get a drink at, there was nothing like standing next to “The Marcus Bai Stand,” watching the magic of Cronk, Slater, Smith, Inglis and Folau set the stadium alight.

It is sad that next time I trundle down Swan St, the old girl will be gone. Fare thee well, Olympic Park. You were a shithole but you were our shithole and we loved you all the same. 

The Willie M Medal: The judge of the Raiders game didn’t know what to do without Matt Orford. Let’s hope that “back injury” doesn’t take too much of a toll. Early estimations are he should be okay soon though estimations on how long an axe in the back lasts are sketchy at best.

Parramatta v Canterbury

3-Jarryd Hayne (Par)

2-Jeff Robson (Par)

1-Etuate Uaisele (Par)

Gold Coast v Wests Tigers

3-Todd Payten (Tig)

2-Greg Bird (GC)

1-Tim Moltzen (Tig)

Manly v New Zealand

3-Russell Packer (NZ)

2-Vic Mauro (Man)

1-Krisnan Inu (NZ)

Sydney Roosters v Brisbane

3-BJ Leulia (Roo)

2-Nate Myles (Roo)

1-Anthony Minichiello (Roo)

North Queensland v Canberra

3-Blake Ferguson (Can)

2-Jarrod Croker (Can)

1-David Shillington (Can)

Newcastle v Cronulla

3-Wade Graham (Cro)

2-Antonio Kaufusi (New)

1-Broderick Wright (Cro)

Penrith v Melbourne

3-Sandor Earl (Pen)

2-Luke Walsh (Pen)

1-Kevin Kingston (Pen)

South Sydney v St George-Illawarra

3-Rhys Wesser (Sou)

2-Fetuli Talanoa (Sou)

1-Matt Prior (Dra)


11-Matt Orford (Can)

8-Feleti Mateo (NZ), Jarrod Mullen (New)

7-Lachlan Coote (Pen), Michael Jennings (Pen)

6-Blake Ferguson (Can), Jarryd Hayne (Par), BJ Leulia (Roo)

Round 6 Judges Panel: Nick Tedeschi, Rohan Kendall, Rohan Neale, Nathan Boss, Brett Oaten (Fired Up)

Talking Tactics #1: Look out for the Melbourne Storm to start contesting scrums in key matches throughout the season. They have been practicing all preseason and there have been times this year where they have pushed. Craig Bellamy is always willing to play to the letter of the law and he is always on the cutting edge of tactical innovations. The Storm won’t bring it out too early but be sure and certain, Cameron Smith is going to get a couple against the head this year and it will be in a big match against a quality team in a key moment.

Talking Tactics #2: One little trend that has snuck into the game this season thanks to the small change in the 20m tap law allowing players who retrieve the ball to tap quickly if they return it to the 20m line is the tackling of defenders who catch the ball in-goal on the full or the tackling of defenders without the ball who watch a ball dead. This, obviously, is to prevent a quick tap. Soon enough, Bill Harrigan and the rules committee are going to have to address the issue because it significantly hampers an a team’s initial attack, which can set up a drive and is the most important play of any six-tackle set. Once a ball is caught or out, there can be no tackling, particularly the obvious cases that we’ve seen lately. The referees need to penalise an offending team from the 20m spot if this offence does occur again.

Fun Fact #1: NRL coaches, where they played and coaches they played under:

Anthony Griffin: –Brothers in BRL (85-87)–

David Furner:  200g for Canberra (92-00) under Tim Sheens (108), Mal Meninga (92)

Kevin Moore: 37g for Canterbury (89-94) under Phil Gould (5), Chris Anderson (32)

Shane Flanagan: 3g for St George (87) under Roy Masters (3), 42g for Wests (89-91) under John Bailey (36), Warren Ryan (6), 33g for Parramatta under Mick Cronin (32), Ron Hilditch (1)

John Cartwright: 184g for Penrith under Tim Sheens (39), Ron Willey (40), Phil Gould (72), Royce Simmons (33)

Des Hasler: 12g for Penrith under John Peard (12), 255g for Manly under Bob Fulton (182), Alan Thompson (18), Graham Lowe (55), 21g for Wests under Tom Raudonikis (21)

Craig Bellamy: 147g for Canberra under Don Furner (106), Wayne Bennett (6), Allan McMahon (1), Tim Sheens (41)

Ivan Cleary: 15 g for Manly under Graham Lowe (2), Bob Fulton (13), 37g for Norths under Peter Louis (37), 81g for Sydney Roosters under Phil Gould (81), 53g for New Zealand under Mark Graham (5), Daniel Anderson (48)

Rick Stone: 3g for Souths under George Piggins (3)

Neil Henry: –Never played first grade rugby league–

Stephen Kearney: 46g for Wests under Warren Ryan (46), 78g for New Zealand under John Monie (50), Frank Endacott (28), 139g for Melbourne under Chris Anderson (45), Mark Murray (45), Craig Bellamy (49)

Matt Elliott: 62g for St George under Craig Young (18), Brian Smith (44)

Wayne Bennett: –Souths, Ipswich, Brothers in BRL (72-79)—

John Lang: 20g for Easts under Bob Fulton (20), –Easts in BRL (69-79)—

Brian Smith: 14g for St George under Graeme Langlands, 17g for South Sydney under Bob McCarthy, Johnny King, Jack Gibson

Tim Sheens: 166g for Penrith under Leo Trevena, Jack Clare, Mike Stephenson, Barry Harris, Don Parish, Len Stacker, John Peard

Fun Fact #2: Coaches with multiple players now coaching in the NRL:

Tim Sheens (3): David Furner (108), Craig Bellamy (41), John Cartwright (39)

Phil Gould (3): Ivan Cleary (81), John Cartwright (72), Kevin Moore (5)

Bob Fulton (3): Des Hasler (182), John Lang (20), Ivan Cleary (13)

Chris Anderson (2): Stephen Kearney (45), Kevin Moore (32)

Warren Ryan (2): Stephen Kearney (46), Shane Flanagan (6)

Graham Lowe (2): Des Hasler (55), Ivan Cleary (2)

John Peard (2): Des Hasler (12), Tim Sheens

Fun Fact #3: Wayne Bennett has only coached one player who is currently a coach in the NRL: Craig Bellamy at Canberra in 1987. Not a single Bronco who he coached from 1988 to 2008 is currently a coach in the NRL and only one player from his 21 year reign at Brisbane went on to become a first grade coach: Wally Lewis, who coached the Gold Coast in 1992-93.

Power Rankings:

1. St George-Illawarra (5-1) LW:1, R:1-3

2. Melbourne (5-1) LW:2, R:1-4

3. Brisbane (5-1) LW:3, R:3-14

4. Canterbury (4-2) LW:5, R:1-5

5. Wests Tigers (3-3) LW:4, R:3-6

6. Newcastle (3-3) LW:7, R:5-7

7. Manly (3-3) LW:8, R:6-13

8. North Queensland (4-2) LW:10, R:8-16

9. New Zealand (2-4) LW:9 R:9-14

10. South Sydney (2-4) LW:11, R:8-11

11. Sydney Roosters (2-4) LW:6, R:5-11

12. Cronulla (2-4) LW:12, R:10-16

13. Gold Coast (2-4) LW:15, R:9-15

14. Penrith (2-4) LW:13, R:10-16

15. Canberra (1-5) LW:14, R:4-15

16. Parramatta (2-4) LW:16, R:8-16

LW: Last Week R: Range

Round Seven Selection Notes:

Manly: Brett Stewart has been named again and Michael Oldfield has been placed on standby. Will Stewart actually play? Joe Galuvao has also been named but almost certainly won’t. Des Hasler is making a joke of the announced teams.

Penrith:There is still no word yet on Nathan Smith at Penrith, which must be a major worry for the Panthers. Lachlan Coote is still sidelined but that isn’t a major concern with Michael Gordon again excelling at fullback.

Wests Tigers: The NRL needs to start fining clubs who make a joke of the Tuesday teams, as the Tigers have this week by naming the suspended Chris Heighington. Liam Fulton will start, if he comes up. If not, they may need to call on Paul Sironen. Keith Galloway should also be back. He has been named. The injury crisis though is wreaking havoc with the Tigers options at present.

Brisbane: No need to change a winning formula so Anthony Griffin has only added Ben Hunt to an extended bench. Shane Tronc has probably been a little harshly treated, now wallowing in the Queensland Cup.

Cronulla:Shane Flanagan has named an unchanged lineup to the team who lost to Newcastle with Dean Collis again expected to be bumped from an extended bench.

North Queensland: Suspended duo Gavin Cooper and James Tamou return, both named on the bench. Tamou should come in for Ashton Sims.

Canterbury: Josh Morris returns for Canterbury, coming in for the impressive Tim Lafai, who played well against Parramatta. Chris Armit, thankfully, is gone.

South Sydney: Finally, ye gods, John Lang has wielded the axe, dumping horrid fullback Rhys Wesser and hapless winger Fetuli Talanoa. About time. James Roberts will debut at fullback while Chris McQueen gets a run on the wing. Eddy Pettybourne is back on the bench to add some starch to the Bunnies pack.

Canberra: David Furner has announced an unchanged lineup but says Matt Orford, Josh Dugan and Alan Tongue are all a chance of returning if they train this week. Jarrod Croker can consider himself lucky  to retain his position given his current form.

Newcastle: Surprise, surprise, no Adam MacDougall, who has sustained some other injury. Antonio Kaufusi has been dropped to the bench, part of the way to where he should be playing. Zeb Taia is still sidelined with news coming out that he has a bulging disc.

Parramatta: Jordan Atkins gets the recall for Jarryd Hayne, who took the two month suspension for a headbutt. Ben Smith is well and truly on the outer with Stephen Kearney, as is Anthony Mitchell.

Gold Coast: William Zillman retains the No.6 jersey with Greg Bird kept in the backrow. Joe Tomane is still being kept out of the NRL with the questionable decision to play Bodene Thompson out of position at right centre.

Sydney Roosters: Not surprisingly, Todd Carney was not selected after his behaviour over the weekend. I’d be surprised if he played again in 2011. Braith Anasta again gets the five-eighth job while Tom Symonds starts in the backrow.

St George-Illawarra: Bennett has named an unchanged lineup with Kyle Stanley and Nathan Fien listed after being late withdrawals on Monday night. Expect Rein and Stanley to drop off though Bennett is trying to give everyone a taste of the top grade.

Melbourne: Bellamy has made no changes to the Storm team that has been flying of late, losing only one match in their six.

New Zealand: Brett Seymour is back for the Warriors, coming in for the injured Shaun Berrigan, forcing a reshuffle that sees Lewis Brown move to the centres. Seymour is rubbish but offers a bit more organisationally than Feleti Mateo.

Betting Market of the Week:

Jarryd Hayne to whinge and bitch and cry all season:                 $1.25

Jarryd Hayne to be easily rattled by any smart opposition:         $1.70

Jarryd Hayne to plod along all year without finding any form:     $1.65

Jarryd Hayne to act like a man:                                                        $1001.00

Rumour Mill: As mentioned above, it seems as if both Anthony Watts and Todd Carney will be fired by the Sydney Roosters with the Roosters likely to take a stand on both this week. Watts is a certainty to go while Carney is a very good chance though a certain relationship with a club official may save his bacon. There is some real good mail that Mal Meninga may be announced as the next coach of Penrith with the next month. There is a school of thought that Michael Ennis is on his way to Newcastle. The North Queensland Cowboys reportedly put in a big offer for Corey Parker, who will stay at Brisbane for less money. The concerns over Josh Dugan in Canberra continue to grow. You would be very worried if you were a Raiders fans. News from AFL House is that Nine will lose out on their bid to win AFL free-to-air rights, something that will have a damaging impact on league because the game could not get itself together in time to have its next TV deal negotiated at the same time as the AFL.

Pub Call of the Week: “George Rose is the Laurie Oakes of rugby league”, Rohan Neale, Saturday evening, The British Crown.

What I Like About…Michael Ennis:I like the fact he plays for the Bulldogs. He is such a loathsome character but you tend to find some deep wells of like when his acts of grubbery are in Canterbury’s honour. He is a needler, a grub, a bastard and a bum. But he is our needler, our grub, our bastard, our bum. It was with great delight that I watched him work Nathan Hindmarsh into a frenzy. I wouldn’t bet on him being at Canterbury next year though. All the signs are pointing to him leaving with his refusal to categorically deny a move the worst of it. He has always been a hired gun though and you can’t complain when they leave. You don’t date a prostitute if you don’t want crabs.

From Deep in the Bowels of Twitter:

Clinton Toopi is so slow these days he is being outpaced by his kids who, by the by, I would back at 8/1-on. “On your marks, get set, too fast for daddy.”

My old favourite Royce Simmons: “Lasagne for dinner. Packaging says 'serves 4' i think they need to reassess that. 1kg doesn't even serve Roycey”

Shane Shackleton getting worked up at Daniel Mortimer: “@Danmorts put sumthin on tele ya dum dogs!!”

Coaching Stocks:

5: Wayne Bennett: The wide style being played has thrown teams off and it did Souths

4.5: Craig Bellamy: Would be relieved with the Storm’s first road win in since R10, 2010

4: Tim Sheens: The Tigers tried hard but Sheens would be livid the Titans match was lost

4: Anthony Griffin: He may be the hottest property in league as his defence just fires.

3.5: Rick Stone: The final score was closer than the final margin suggested in a good win.

3.5: Kevin Moore: The Dogs needed a win against their hated rivals and they won easily.

3.5: Des Hasler: Manly are fighting on well despite a solid injury toll.

2.5: John Cartwright: Gold Coast have a long way too go but Tigers win was relieving.

2.5: Ivan Cleary: Would be a touch annoyed with Manly result as game was there to win.

1.5: Brian Smith: Has clearly lost control of the Roosters as they spiral out of control.

1.5: Stephen Kearney: Could not have been happy with Parramatta’s ill discipline.

1.5: Shane Flanagan: Another heartbreaker but at least Sharks are playing hard.

0.5: Neil Henry: The Cowboys are flying at the moment and this is a results game.

-0.5: David Furner: How does he still have a job after this debacle of a start?

-0.5: John Lang: Turned in a brave effort but 2-4 has them under the pump yet again.

-1.5: Matt Elliott: Penrith tried hard against Melbourne but were beset by dumb errors.

Obscure Score of the Week: St George-North Sydney, 26-22, Final of the last City Cup, 1959. The Dragons went undefeated in 1959, the last tem to win the premiership undefeated. They also claimed the reinstated City Cup, which was last been contested in 1942. The Dragons were in the throes of their incredible run while Norths were in the throes of their title-less desolation. It is astonishing Norths got as close as they did. It would be as close as Norths got to a title in the last half-century of their existence.

The Life and Times of the Special Needs Penguin:It had to be seen to be believed. Ben Pomeroy, he with clubs for hands, somehow managed to open the scoring for the Sharks against Newcastle by catching the ball on his shoulder with only a few centimetres breathing room and somehow holding on, sliding inside and crashing over. It was astonishing. You would have taken 12’s-on the drop but he kept it pinned to his shoulder and bustled over. The try was only topped in terms of entertainment by his back drop of Junior Sau, one that would have left The Ultimate Warrior or Kevin Nash proud.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 6: Parramatta-Canterbury, 14-34. Aside from my obvious delight in seeing Parramatta get pounded by the Bulldogs, those loathsome cats whacked by a much nobler and tougher breed, this was a classic. The scoreline doesn’t reflect what a good match this was, one full of drama and spite and intensity. Coming off a hammering at the hands of Melbourne, Parramatta seemed intent on atoning. Jarryd Hayne in particular, after a guileless performance against the Storm, seemed switched on, scoring the first two tries to have the Dogs down 14-0 after 25 minutes. The came had exploded only seconds before, however, when Jarryd Hayne responded like a little bitch to a Corey Payne love tap, head-butting the bustling Dogs forward, who responded with a flurry of punches. Both were sent to the bin and minutes later, were joined by Nathan Hindmarsh and Mick Ennis after Ennis goaded the usually unflappable Hindmarsh, Hindmarsh calling him a “grub” in the post-match presser. That five minutes was the turning point. The Eels had lost their two best players and were shaken. The Dogs, with an obvious talent edge and inspired by their work, were ready to go. The scores were tied before long and Canterbury ended up running away with the match 34-14. Jarryd Hayne was not sighted in the second half, a milk drinker clearly not interested in the physicality of rugby league.

Fantasy Team of the Week:

1. Michael Gordon (Pen)

2. James McManus (New)

3. Jamal Idris (Cant)

4. Mark Gasnier (Dra)

5. Steve Turner (Cant)

6. Kurt Gidley (New)

7. Johnathan Thurston (Cow)

13. Paul Gallen (Cro)

12. Ben Creagh (Dra)

11. Corey Parker (Bri)

10. Aiden Tolman (Bul)

9. Cameron Smith (Mel)

8. Bryan Norrie (Mel)


14. Nathan Gardner (Cro)

15. Ben Barba (Cant)

16. Scott Bolton (Cow)

17. Gareth Widdop (Mel)

Waiver Wire Advice: William Hopoate and Blake Ferguson are two players who have risen in value in recent weeks but two players who should probably be sold this week if they are on your list. Hopoate has been outstanding since moving to fullback while Ferguson’s numbers have been up since shifting to the No.1 jersey but with Brett Stewart and Josh Dugan set to return over the next fortnight, both should be sold for safer plays. Hopoate is up $122,700 this year to $255,100 but his numbers will dip when he returns to the wing. Enjoy the profit. Ferguson has also risen a fair amount, just under $70,000, but has found himself error prone at fullback. Back to the wing, use the profit to upgrade other positions.

Correspondence Corner: Redman, I don’t blame Folau for taking the $5 million if cash is the most important thing in your life. There should be a price to pay for it though and that should be the door of rugby league slamming you on the ass. With Laurie Daley, you are 100% correct. He is a moron and I’m not sure he even watches rugby league. Timana Tahu? Please.

Zig, if they play union in heaven, give me a first class ticket to hell. Though, as a born and raised Catholic, I’m fairly sure God is a league man through and through.

Mick Robson, great to hear from you over in the Mother Country. I have read plenty on the oppression rugby league has suffered in England, particularly the works of Tony Collins. My colleague Steve Mascord has also relayed to me how little coverage the game gets in the mainstream press in England. Thanks for the kind words and I would very much like to do anything to assist the English game. The rugby brigade helped the Nazis destroy league in France and the old boys institutions have helped stymie its growth in England. Good luck in forcing change…I sure hope it does happen. By the by, I’m a Fax man. My love of Chris Anderson and John Dorahy had me at hello.

Anna, we are 4-2 and while I think Moore will be under the gun if we drop off, we have rolled the teams we should and lost to better teams. Though, and this is for you too Doubter, Armit is a dubious selection but I wouldn’t use that as the basis to bring in Jim Dymock, a player who betrayed the club in ’95.

Davey, Mateo is a grade-A milk drinker and the Eels did one of the few right things in punting him. In regards to your question on the “Featherstone”, you raise an interesting point. Perhaps it should be a penalty. I’m for anything that brings in more differentials.

Mitch, you can keep banging the Ben Roberts drum all season my friend but he isn’t getting the call up with the form Kris Keating is in and putting him on the bench is a waste with Mick Ennis playing 80 minutes.

Beard Watch:I’m not sure if it was the beard, I’m not sure if it was the 115kg and I’m not sure if it was a year out eating cheeseburgers but watching bearded legend Adam Woolnough attempt to chase down Penrith flyer Sandor Earl was one of the highlights of the weekend. It reminded me of Marodpour in the Melbourne Cup, sucking back through the field at an alarming rate. It was hardly a proud moment for the beard but an entertaining one nonetheless.

A nod must also go to Kevin Kingston, who said that with winter approaching, the beard would be back. “I don’t own the beard, the beard owns me,” he said. What a wonderful acolyte.

Watch It: This Ashes Test 45 years ago was a classic and shows that, as much as things change, they remain the same. In front of a packed SCG, Australia looked to retain the Ashes. Australia lost the first Test in Sydney but bounced back with a victory in Brisbane. It was all down to the decider. Australia jumped the gun thanks to some wonderful play from Arthur Beetson and a try to Johnny King and looked home before a Ron Lynch intercept put England back in it. The contest got willing with Cliff Watson sent off and got even more fiery when Ken Irvine awarded a questionable try. Col Pearce evened it up though with a penalty try, the old fashioned referee square up going well back. Watch the highlights of this classic here.

Thanks to Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac for the photo

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Comments (2)

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  1. oyster says:

    I agree about Hayne taking dives, he did it two or three times last year.Would fit right in a soccer game. 

  2. serict says:

    Good column yet again Nick though you forgot to include in the Hayne market

    • Hayne to dish out his best shoulder charge on a defenseless attacker after they've drawn him and passed to a support who streaks away to score.      $1.01

    Amazing how often he gets away with this as the focus is on the try being scored.