From The Couch: Round 7
Daley Names Every Eligible Player Bar Cody Walker in NSW Squad, Manages To Mess It Up Nonetheless: Laurie Daley has no idea. Absolutely zero. That is what naming a 52-man squad for an Origin game in six weeks says. What an astonishingly ludicrous display of public ineptitude it was by announcing 52 players were in contention for an Origin gig including, astonishingly, Akuila Uate, Daniel Tupou, Lachlan Coote, Jack Wighton, Josh Morris, Aidan Sezer and Reagan Campbell-Gillard. Cody Walker, arguably the best half in the state, was left out. Daley has lost enough series and laid no platform for the future so the persistence with him is surprising. He will again fall back on naming the team from the last game last season as he always does with a few minor tweaks so naming a 52-man squad is akin to saying everyone in Australia could be Prime Minister after the next election.
With still plenty of time to go, here is the Origin team your author would pick for Game I:
- James Tedesco
- Tom Trbojevic
- Jarrod Croker
- James Roberts
- Blake Ferguson
- James Maloney
- Adam Reynolds
- Paul Vaughan
- Damien Cook
- Andrew Fifita
- Boyd Cordner ©
- Tyson Frizell
- Jake Trbojevic
- Cody Walker
- Ryan James
- Junior Paulo
- Josh Jackson
The Axe Falls on Michael Lichaa: Michael Lichaa’s time at Canterbury is surely done now after the Bulldogs’ sharp attacking turnaround after he was hooked on Friday. In an Easter Miracle, Des Hasler finally did what fans have spent 12 months calling for and pulled Lichaa, shifting Moses Mbye to hooker and Matt Frawley to half. Canterbury won the remainder of the game 22-1. The Bulldogs troubles start with poor play at hooker – decision-making and delivery. That stopped when he was dragged. It would be a major surprise if Lichaa played any role in the first grade team for the remainder of the year.
The Force Die, The Pirates Must Live: The other rugby code are set to kill off the Western Force. The NRL must seize the opportunity to put a team into Perth. There has been a need for a Perth team for a long time. The NRL won’t get a better opportunity to put a team in there than now, attracting the disenfranchised ex-Force fans along with the league lovers, allowing them to build on taking an Origin over there. The Perth Pirates need to happen and they should be in the premiership by 2019.
Jack Bird Moves for Money and Petty Grievances: There won’t be too many players unhappy that Jack Bird has decided to move to Brisbane in 2018. Bird is a unique character who was hardly the most popular member of the Sharks dressing room. He turned his back on the Dragons after they fostered his development to join Cronulla because they offered him more money and promised him a first-grade berth. He has now joined the Broncos for no other reasons than cash and because he has been promised a spine role. The Sharks lived by the sword, they must now die by it. And rubbish from Bird’s father that he is moving up for the challenge and not the cash are just that … rubbish.
Women’s Comp on the Horizon: The NRL may be late to the party on the benefits offered by a top-level female competition but at least it seems to now be very much on the agenda. The AFL did an outstanding job with it by running it during the men’s pre-season and providing free entry. The NRL should follow a similar model and do their best to make the stars shine.
Wrong Horse: Paul Stringer last week resigned as a Tigers assistant out of loyalty to Jason Taylor. Stringer was never the sharpest player. Talk about tying your wagon to the wrong horse. Taylor will never coach in the NRL … ever … again. It seems neither will Stringer.
2017 Field Goal Update – 8: Adam Reynolds slotted a very strange field goal just before halftime that killed those who backed the draw in the half-full double – and left the great element of having a team lose 24-9.
Fun Fact #1: The most common score since 2000 by a team is 12, which has occurred 537 times.
Fun Fact #2: Five scores have landed just once since 2000: 1,5,53,71 and 72.
Fun Fact #3: Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis are the only remaining players from 2001 – while two NRL officiating staff (Henry Perenara and Luke Patten) also played that year.
Betting Market of the Week: Jack Bird’s primary reason for shifting to the Broncos:
$101.00: ‘The Challenge’
$21.00: Wayne Bennett’s fatherly influence
$17.00: He wants to win a premiership
$6.00: He will be more astutely used
$4.00: He has been promised a halves position
$2.80: His girlfriend will be allowed into the dressing room post-game
$1.20: Cash, cash, cash
Rumour Mill: James Tedesco will be announced as signing with the Sydney Roosters late this week or early next week, once the 10-day cooling off period has come to a close. Tedesco was convinced he would achieve a lot more with the stability and talent at Bondi Junction than he could ever hope to with his current side. Cooper Cronk almost certainly won’t retire and Canterbury are extremely short to sign him. He will likely be joined by Aaron Woods with Moses Mbye the player to be forced out unless he is prepared to move to hooker. James Graham could also be forced out with the Tigers and Knights both extremely interested. Kieran Foran is favoured to shift to Melbourne while Gareth Widdop could also return to the club he debuted with. George and Tom Burgess are well on the outs at Souths and have been earmarked by the Toronto Wolfpack.
Robbie Farah’s Anger Level – High: Farah saw his minutes rise to 44 and the NSW coach name him the front-runner for the Blues No.9 jersey so the anger levels have dropped back to the normal level of high.
What I Like About … John Asiata: Any prop that can slot into the halves is alright by me but when he actually performs it is a sight to behold. Asiata had two assists and looked right at home partnering Michael Morgan. Little oddities like this make the game of Rugby League so great.
Game of the Year Nomination, Round 7: Brisbane – Gold Coast, 24-22. The Queensland Derby didn’t disappoint with the Broncos overcoming a valiant – as always – Titans team to maintain their dominance over their in-state rival. Gold Coast really should have won but again couldn’t close out while James Roberts had his best game in Broncos colours. Some brilliant tries in a highly entertaining match.
The Coaching Crosshairs: Laurie Daley should be sacked immediately as NSW coach after naming a 52-man squad … and then leaving a player the quality of Cody Walker out. Naming a 52-man squad shows Daley has no idea what he is doing. By leaving Walker out it clearly shows he doesn’t watch enough football. Worse, we all know he will just stick with the same team he did the year prior because he knows getting close is the best way to get a new deal.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Anthony Griffin’s decision to make Matt Moylan Penrith skipper in the first place was an odd one. He certainly doesn’t scream leadership and was reluctant to take the job. He then showed no regard for the coaching staff by breaking team curfew. Griffin should have taken the captaincy off him and given it to a player who demands respect like Trent Merrin or Peter Wallace.
Beard Watch: The moustache is, as they say in fashion circles, on trend and there is no better moustache in the NRL than that of Young Tonuimapea. He looks like he is trying out for the live action remake of Super Mario Brothers in the title role. It is outstanding in its fullness and its apparent lack of irony.
Correspondence Corner: Norths Tiger, stats like that are always welcome.
Jason, no sarcasm and I dare say he is the first player picked by the Kiwis these days if David Kidwe;ll has indeed heard of him.
Davey G, excellent term, the Todd Lowrie Year. Absolute gold.
The Truth Teller, I am coming around to Brenton Speed and agree on Hannah Hollis. All the women on Fox League are killing it.
Watch It: Russell Crowe talks “owning a rugby team” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. For some reason watching Americans talk about Rugby League both amuses and infuriates me. Watch it here.