From The Couch: Round 8

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on May 1, 2012

Get on Queensland, Get on Queensland Now: There is no way in hell New South Wales can win a State of Origin series under Ricky Stuart. Whatever doubts I had over Stuart – and I have always had plenty of doubts with him but last year I fancied he was well suited to Origin – were well and truly confirmed with his stubborn, vicious, nonsensical tirade in his Sunday Telegraph column.

The piece was extraordinary.

He opened by comparing his own personal disloyalty to players he explicitly stated throughout the 2011 campaign that he would remain loyal towards to Australian coach Tim Sheens' decision not to play Robbie Farah in a Test against Wales in 2011. Farah was left out. He was never part of Australia's strongest 17 that year. He never has been. Sheens' decision not to play Farah had nothing to do with disloyalty. It had to do with a fringe player not getting picked.

Stuart's implication is, of course, that Sheens should have picked Farah because he owed his Tiger player a greater degree of loyalty than other players are deserving of. That is, of course, the Stuart way. He has long believed in patronage. He has benefited by getting it from the likes of Phil Gould, Nick Politis and Bob Fulton. And the representative careers of players like Anthony Tupou can be wholly explained by his dishing out of it. The fact the state coach truly believes a player from his own club –or, by extension, his own camp – deserves special privileges is pathetic.

Stuart then went on to address Sheens' claims about disloyalty.  "He said that last year I was going to stay consistent through the spine – the halfback, hooker, five-eighth and fullback – and he was now wondering where that went with Jamie Soward and Michael Ennis 'out of favour'".

The Blues coach, of course, did say he would be loyal to the spine – many times.

Stuart never mentioned Soward's name again. He gave no rational explanation as to why Soward – doing exactly what is asked of him at the Dragons after a fair Origin debut – was not in the mix for even a Country jersey. He didn't even bother to mention his name. He is just on the outer because Stuart doesn't like his style. He didn't when he dumped him at the Roosters and he doesn't now. It is a disgrace that personal vindictiveness can play out on the Origin stage.

He then spouts off the same old rubbish: "Origin is a special brand of football", "When you give your loyalty, you have to get a return" and "Sheens said we don't have a pick and stick attitude like they do in Queensland or with the Australian team…he pointed to the spine of Queensland and Australia, which happens to be made up entirely of Queensland players, as an example of sticking solid."

This followed a week where Stuart already started developing excuses, launching a tirade against game one being played in Melbourne. This, of course, followed a year where Stuart said the Blues' aim was to win just one game.

Ricky Stuart is an extraordinarily poor coach. He claims his greatest strength is his loyalty. I say it is a close-run thing between his ability to fool those in positions of power and to constantly come up with excuses. He is out of his depth at Origin level. He is out of his depth in the NRL. He relies on out-dated, questionable and sometimes just plain wrong mantras and motifs to guide the way. He is a poor evaluator of talent. He is doing nothing but creating division in the NSW camp. Ideas such as continuity and stability are foreign to Stuart. Queensland will win 3-0 this year. And, sadly, I'll be cheering them on the whole way because I will never get behind Ricky Stuart and his vindictive, stupid ways again.

The Stupidity of a Hybrid Test: The NRL should threaten any player who engages in talk of joining some kind of hybrid Test with either the Wallabies or the All Blacks with life bans. No rugby league fan wants to see such a gigantic travesty of an event that the game has nothing to gain from. How many league fans could name five Wallabies? Not many. There is not much to be gained from having the Kangaroos take on a bunch of no-name pseudo-athletes. On an already crowded calendar, this should be the first laughable idea thrown out.

Suspend Him: Steve Matai is a master of grubbery, a doctor of dirt who continually acts like a low-down thug. His aggressive shoulder on referee Brett Suttor was clearly deliberate and he deserves a long spell on the sidelines.

Credit Where Credit Is Due: I have been extremely critical of the way Dave Taylor has played for much of this season –and much of his career- but his performance against North Queensland was excellent and shows what he is capable of. Taylor was rampaging against the Cows, racking up 166m, eight tackle breaks, three line breaks and a try. What was most impressive was the aggression and directness he played with. He ran hard and he ran at the defender. It was impressive to see.

Highlight of the Week: When Parramatta signed Chris Hicks, Carl Webb, Chris Walker, Paul Whatuira and Reni Maitua for the 2011 season, it looked like it would be a disaster. From The Couch had a frenzy with it. Of course, it was a total clusterfuck. The Eels managed just 6.5 wins in 2011 with Webb, Walker and Whatuira all retiring midseason. It was regarded, at least here, as the worst recruitment class of all time. It was also one of the reasons the incomparable Paul Osborne was finally shown the door at the Eels. Well, who would have thought that recruitment class would push the Eels so far over the cap that the club was fined $80,000 for a series of breaches? There is no worse run club in rugby league and there is no club I have seen in 25 years of following the game that has less of an idea both on and off the field.

Heads-Up Play #1: Jason Nightingale's chip. Jason Nightingale is one of the sharpest players in the game and was the deciding factor in the last three minutes of the Anzac Day classic, collecting the short kick-off and then giving a wonderful pass to Matt Prior before, on a panicked last play, dropped a perfect chip in that led to a drop out and a Dragons win. Huge play.

Heads-Up Play #2: Johnathan Thurston booting an optional 20-metre tap out. The Cowboys were coming at the tiring Bunnies and it was the perfect play that gave North Queensland possession and field position. He is such a smart player.

Heads-Up Play #3: Benji Marshall's field goal. It was an innocuous shot just before the halftime break that gave the Tigers a 19-0 lead. It ended up proving the difference. Benji, along with Jamie Soward, is the master of the pre-break field goal. It has proved decisive more than once.

Braith Anasta, Fool: Braith Anasta clearly doesn't read From The Couch. If he did he certainly wouldn't have claimed that "the short kick-off (that led to the Dragons' second last try) was one in a hundred". Had he, he would clearly have understood that the odds were more like 50-50 and that teams who practice it are probably favourites to collect the ball. The Dragons, always well prepared, clearly do. I'd love to go to the races with Anasta. I should get plenty of overs given his valuation system.

Listen To Rabs: On Sunday's call he was adamant that rugby league should have more differential penalties. Here, here Rabs.

Worst Double Movement Ever:What could Fuifui Moimoi have possibly been thinking when he stretched out for the most obvious double movement rugby league has ever seen? Why that was referred to the video referee is beyond me. He could have watched Roots in between being tackled and ground the ball.

Take the Two, Always Take the Two: Up 42-16 and the Sharks receiving a penalty, captain Paul Gallen pointed to the posts and demanded the two. If only more captains would follow his lead.

Fun Fact #1: Jeff Robson has now won 6 games from 6 attempts at Cronulla for an astonishing 100 per cent win ration. At Manly his record was 1-5 for 16.67 per cent. At Parramatta he went 26-33-2 for a win ratio of 42.52 per cent. Chris Sandow, Robson's replacement at Parramatta on something like three-four times the money, has gone 1-6 with the Eels.

Fun Fact #2: South Sydney this week became the second team to win 1000 premiership games. Their best record against teams they have played at least 10 matches against is University, who they went 30-0-1 against.  Against current teams their best record is against Penrith, who they have a 39-32-1 all-time record against. Their worst record is against Melbourne, who they have gone 3-16 against.  Against current teams, they have a winning all-time record against five teams and a losing record against 10. Their most wins have come against Wests and the Roosters (106) just ahead of Norths (104). Their most losses have come against the Roosters (93) ahead of St George (92).

Fun Fact #3: Souths' 1000 wins have come at 42 venues with Redfern (197), the SCG (183) and the Sydney Sportsground (143) all hosting 100 plus victories. The Bunnies have lost 100-plus games at four venues with the Sydney Football Stadium the only other ground to see so many losses. There is only nine venues that Souths have never won at: the Showground (0-2), Olympic Park (0-7), QE II (0-4), AAMI Park (0-2), Skilled Park (0-1), Darwin (0-1), the WACA (0-1), Newcastle Showgrounds (0-1) and Concord Oval (0-1), of which only two are currently in use.

Recruitment in the NRL Era – Canterbury: As a power club, Canterbury have traditionally been dealing in big names. They splurge money on internationals and Origin stars and they lose the same, bringing in 20 who would wear their state or national colours and losing a tally of 17. From 1998-2004, the Bulldogs recruitment team did an excellent job and the results were seen on the paddock though the knockers will obviously point to the salary cap drama of 2002. From 2005-08, the recruitment at the club was an unmitigated disaster, and one totally on the head of then coach Steve Folkes and the sacking of Garry Hughes. From 2009 onwards, the recruitment has been much stronger and much more reactive to the resources of the club and the needs of the first grade team.

Best Year:It is touch and go between 2001 and 2009 with the latter probably having a slight edge though the class has essentially done little collectively for the club outside of a preliminary final run in its first year. Mick Ennis became a club captain, David Stagg has been extremely reliable, Ben Hannant was excellent in his two years at the club, Josh Morris for the most part has been classy, Greg Eastwood has been okay, Bryson Goodwin played Test footy and Brett Kimmorley was wonderful that first season. The losses were barely noticeable: a washed-up Willie Tonga, a Reni Maitua who would soon be done for drugs and finally the last of the Hughes boys in Corey. The remaining lot need a result soon though if that class is to be looked on so fondly. In 2001 the Bulldogs signed Luke Patten, Paul Rauhihi and Nigel Vagana and lost just Brad Clyde. Patten was a champion but Vagana and Rauhihi were gone by the 2004 title.

Worst Year:2005 and it isn’t even close. Despite the deals being done before the 2004 premiership was won, 2005 rolled around and Canterbury had lost captain Steve Price and a player who would become one of the best of the next decade in Johnathan Thurston. Also leaving were outstanding clubmen (and personal favourites of mine) Dennis Scott and Jamie Feeney. Joining the club were honest prop Chris Armit, the horrid Ben Czislowski (8 NRL games) and the totally forgettable trio Daniel Irvine, Makasini Richter and Daniel Irvine, who combined for 13 games between them. The years 2006-08 weren’t a lot better – the Dogs signed no player who had or would play rep footy between 2005-08 and lost seven players who had or would play for Australia.

Best Buy:It is a three-way race with Andrew Ryan just nudging past Luke Patten and Nigel Vagana. Patten was an outstanding clubman, ever reliable, playing 225 games through some very difficult times for the club. Vagana added some much needed life to the Canterbury outside backs, scoring an incredible 61 tries in 76 games in an exciting three-year stint. But Ryan was the buy. Recruited from the Eels for the 2003 season, Ryan was a stalwart in the New South Wales and Australian teams from 2004-07. In his first game as skipper of the club, he won the 2004 premiership and was still leading from the front during the Dogs' revival in 2009. A wonderful player and an all-time great of the Belmore club.

Worst Buy:The Bulldogs have not really had a horrible big money signing – the blue and whites have tended to just give big money to unwarranted players already in Canterbury colours. Ricky Stuart is probably the worst and cost the Bulldogs dearly in 1999 with a dreadful cross-field kick in the final against the Storm but he wasn’t that bad. Since 2005 the club has signed a host of horrible no-namers, players long forgotten like Luke Young, Andrew Emelio and Danny Williams to name a few. But the worst has to be Ryan Tandy. In 12 games he managed to attempt to fix a game. Pretty impressive.

Worst Loss:It is hard to look past Johnathan Thurston. When Canterbury officials decided to throw big money at Brent Sherwin in 2004, it was Thurston who was forced to look elsewhere for an opportunity. While Sherwin was very good in 2004, he was extremely poor since and released to go to England after the 2007 season. Thurston went on to win two Dally M Player of the Year awards, a Golden Boot, three Dally M Halfback of the Year awards and a Wally Lewis Medal to go with 21 Origin caps and 22 Test appearances and talk of being a future Immortal. The geniuses that made that call should be castrated.

Origin/International Players Recruited:
Already: (14) Brad Clyde, Darren Smith, Ricky Stuart, Nigel Vagana, Mark O’Meley, Andrew Ryan, Greg Eastwood, David Stagg, Brett Kimmorley, Ben Hannant, Steve Turner, Dene Halatau, Frank Pritchard, James Graham.
Became: (6) Paul Rauhihi, Jamaal Lolesi, Willie Tonga, Michael Ennis, Bryson Goodwin, Josh Morris.

Origin/International Players Lost:
Already:(16) Solomon Haumono, Matt Ryan, Paul Rauhihi, Travis Norton, Nigel Vagana, Steve Price, Braith Anasta, Jamaal Lolesi, Roy Asotasi, Nate Myles, Willie Mason, Mark O’Meley, Reni Maitua, Willie Tonga, Ben Hannant, Jamal Idris.
Became: (1) Johnathan Thurston.

*Super League Tri Series and International matches are recognised.
** Only players who went to or came from another NRL club are noted with the exception of English internationals.

Injury Update: The worst injury coming from round eight was no doubt the leg injury to Steve Turner, which will rule out the goalkicking winger for the season.

Danny Buderus (Newcastle): Hurt his ankle early against Penrith and is in severe doubt for Origin I. Matt Hilder played well and will start next week.

Kurt Gidley (Newcastle): Dislocated his shoulder again as his wretched run of luck continues. Could miss only a month but may well be gone for the remainder of the year. Tyrone Roberts is set for an extended spell in first grade.

Michael Jennings (Penrith): Appeared to do his AC joint and could miss between 4-8 weeks, ruling him out of Origin I almost certainly. The Panthers cannot afford to lose one of their few attacking weapons.

Kevin Locke (New Zealand): Just back from an ankle injury, Locke damaged his sternum against the Storm and looks to be out for four weeks. Inu surely won't be back with Glen Fisiahii and Jerome Ropati to fight out the fullback spot.

Beau Scott (St George Illawarra): Dislocated his elbow early against the Roosters and is gone for 6-8 weeks, ruling him out of Origin contention. The Dragons have a host of backrow stocks to choose from.

Steve Turner (Canterbury): Turner fractured his patella when his leg got caught in the poor ANZ Stadium surface. He is out for the season with Michael Lett and Tim Lafai in line to replace him.

Luke Walsh (Penrith): Appeared to damage his leg and he has had knee/ankle problems in the past. Not clear but Penrith have nobody to replace him. The Panthers are real runners for the wooden spoon this year.

David Williams (Manly): Suffered a hamstring twinge but is unlikely to miss any time. Dean Whare comes in if he misses a week.

The 2012 Willie M Medal: So where are all the Ben Roberts defenders now? All those jokers who continually talked up Roberts, blinded by one decent performance, are remarkably quiet after his nuclear clusterfuck against the Wests Tigers that cost the Eels any chance of victory in a first half that may be the worst ever seen by a first grader. How Stephen Kearney didn't hook him is beyond me. To someone who has always despised the way Roberts plays – showy, without substance, gutless in defence, loose with the carry, historically dumb – even Sunday's showing was surprising in its total ineptitude. The Tigers led 19-0 at the break almost solely because of Roberts. He spilled a ball cold when on his way to the tryline. He threw a pass forward by somewhere between 10 and 12 metres. He missed a simple one-on-one when Liam Fulton stepped around him that led to a Fulton try. He missed Benji Marshall in a simple one-on-one that created a three-on-two overlap that led to Beau Ryan getting the ball on the wing with no room. Ryan grubbered and Roberts did not get a finger on him when coming across in cover. Ryan scored. It made Paul Carige's final against the Bulldogs look like Andrew Johns in his Origin comeback. Ben Roberts was a unanimous choice for the three Willie Ms on Sunday and would be a well deserving winner of the third Medal.

St George Illawarra v Sydney Roosters
3-Brett Morris (Dra)
2-Mitch Aubusson (Roo)
1-Braith Anasta (Roo)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

Melbourne v New Zealand
3-Krisnan Inu (War)
2-Ben Henry (War)
1-Bryan Norrie (Cow)
Judge: Nathan Boss

Canterbury v Manly
3-Steve Turner (Bul)
2-Jorge Taufua (Man)
1-Sam Kasiano (Bul)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

Brisbane v Gold Coast
3-Jack Reed (Bri)
2-Greg Bird (GC)
1-Kevin Gordon (GC)
Judge: Cliff Bingham

South Sydney v North Queensland
3-Antonio Winterstein (NQ)
2-Jason Clark (Sou)
1-Matt Bowen (NQ)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

Canberra v Cronulla
3-Jarrod Croker (Can)
2-Sam Williams (Can)
1-Blake Ferguson (Can)
Judge: Chris Parkinson

Parramatta v Wests Tigers
3-Ben Roberts (Par)
2-Fuifui Moimoi (Par)
1-Casey Maguire (Par)
Judges: Matt Fisk and Nick Tedeschi

Newcastle v Penrith
3-Brad Tighe (Pen)
2-Danny Galea (Pen)
1-Kurt Gidley (New)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

11: Tim Moltzen (Tig)
10: Ben Roberts (Par)
7: Jarrod Croker (Can), Steve Michaels (GC), Mitchell Pearce (Roo), Chris Sandow (Par), Willie Tonga (Par)
6: Ben Hornby (Dra), Jerome Ropati (War), David Simmons (Pen), Timana Tahu (New), Brad Tighe (Pen), Antonio Winterstein (Cow)

Rumour Mill: A deal is supposedly nearly done between Cronulla and Panthers flyer Michael Gordon. The only real issue is where Gordon plays with Gordon wanting to play fullback. With Nathan Gardner is the team, that won't be easy. Ricky Stuart has been linked to another job with the Roosters reportedly circling. It sounds like bollocks to me. Keep a very close eye on the managers that have been pinged for the Storm salary cap drama. It will be extremely interesting if this sees the light of day. The Storm would certainly hope for the light to be shone brightly on the managers. A malicious rumour doing the rounds was published in the Sunday papers regarding Stephen Kearney recruiting "brown-skinned" players only.

Power Rankings:
1. Melbourne 8-0 (1)
2. Brisbane 7-1 (2)
3. Cronulla 6-2 (3)
4. St George Illawarra 5-3 (5)
5. Newcastle 4-4 (7)
6. Manly 4-4 (9)
7. Canterbury 4-4 (4)
8. South Sydney 4-4 (10)
9. North Queensland 4-4 (6)
10. New Zealand 4-4 (8)
11. Wests Tigers 3-5 (12)
12. Sydney Roosters 4-4 (13)
13. Canberra 3-5 (11)
14. Gold Coast 2-6 (14)
15. Penrith 2-6 (15)
16. Parramatta 1-7 (16)

What I Like About … Ben Roberts: I like that he continually proves me right each and every time he takes the field and touches the ball and plays like a total and utter moron. Roberts plays with an arrogance unbecoming of someone with such a distinct lack of talent. You shouldn't strut around like Keith Richards when you aren't even talented enough to hold Wayne Richards' boots.

Betting Market of the Week: The reason Chris Sandow was dropped to Wentworthville:

-Poor form: $2.75
-Poor attitude: $2.25
-Down on confidence: $2.00
-Backed Stephen Kearney to be first coach sacked in 2012: $1.33

Moniker XIII of the Week: In honour of Ben Creagh's outstanding match-winner against the Sydney Roosters on Anzac Day and the game Ben Hornby broke Norm Provan's all-time games record in the Red V, we find the best Bens in premiership history.

The Bens
1. Ben Barba (61 games for Canterbury)
2. Benny Wearing (172 games for South Sydney)
3. Ben Harris (83 games for Canterbury/North Queensland)
4. Ben Ikin (150 games for Gold Coast/North Sydney/Brisbane)
5. Ben Gonzales (131 games for Penrith/Gold Coast)
6. Benji Marshall (162 games for Wests Tigers)
7. Ben Hornby (257 games for St George Illawarra)
13. Ben Kennedy (195 games for Canberra/Newcastle/Manly)
12. Ben Creagh (186 games for St George Illawarra)
11. Ben Galea (152 games for Balmain/Wests Tigers)
10. Ben Cross (95 games for Canberra/Melbourne/Newcastle)
9. Ben Elias (230 games for Balmain)
8. Ben Hannant (142 games for Sydney Roosters/Brisbane/Canterbury)

Analysis: The Bens, surprisingly, aren't that strong though are aided by the non-selection of Roberts and Pomeroy. The pack is quality with Kennedy and Elias both excellent players while Creagh and Hannant have represented Australia. The halves are also quality – the exciting Marshall and the dependable Hornby. The three-quarter line is a worry with the exception of Souths great Wearing. Barba is young but has plenty of talent.

The Coaching Crosshairs: It probably doesn't bear repeating but Stephen Kearney is on borrowed time. Of more interest is the situation in Canberra. The Raiders, who have now won just 5 of 17 at home since their 2010 finals loss to the Tigers, were just towelled up by a Sharks team who put 44 points on them, only the fifth time in the last decade Cronulla scored more than 41. Yet despite rumours that Ricky Stuart will be in charge of the club in 2013, Raiders chairman John McIntyre told Phil Rothfield: "David Furner will see out his contract…we still think he is the right man for the job and he has to be given a chance." Earlier in the week, McIntyre said: "David will definitely be the coach next year. The only way that would not be the case is if David made a decision in his own mind not to be the coach, but he is not under any pressure to do that and I've had no indication that he is planning to give the job away." It is astonishing that a coach with a 32-49 all-time record in his fourth season would be considered not to have been given his chance and further, assured of his fifth year early in his fourth. The Raiders board should do the right thing and resign en masse this week.

The Life and Times of the Special Needs Penguin: Can Penguins fly? Apparently. Ben Pomeroy soared through the air to open the scoring against the Raiders. He now has four tries in his last six games.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 8: St George Illawarra-Sydney Roosters, 28-24. In front of nearly 41,000 at the SFS, with all the pageantry and tradition of Anzac Day, the Dragons and the Roosters turned in a classic that could well be the game of the year. It was as good as rugby league gets with the game played at a high standard all match and appeared set to end in controversy when Jamie Soward was penalised in the dying minutes for dissent to give the Roosters an eight-point lead. It appeared all over until the Dragons scored off the short kick before some brilliant play led to the Ben Creagh winner. The game has everything, a five-star classic.

Correspondence Corner: Stu Warren, I think the problem with Ashes football is the dollar. There is no doubt that full on Kangaroo tours are a remnant of history but there is no reason at all while twice every four years we can have a three-Test series against England. I like the idea of increasing the Toyota Cup Origin to a three-match series as well. And even at a young age, it was questionable who was hairier – Cliffy Lyons or myself.

Tim Napper, David Furner is bad but Ricky Stuart is no better. He was exposed as the emperor with no clothes once Brad Fittler retired. He is defensive-minded, he is inflexible, he is incapable of creating attacking structures and his relentless intensity nearly always has his teams burnt out.

Anonymous, I think Todd Carney is probably the form No.6 available to the Blues and though he has never really stepped up in big games, he deserves a chance. Jamie Soward is ticking along nicely and deserves to still be in contention but Ricky Stuart has clearly marked his card, throwing away this silliness about remaining loyal to his players.

Gilbert Gantry, Ricky Stuart should have no say in City-Country. This isn't a selection trial and the NSW coach shouldn't undermine the match with his idiotic ideas.

Rocket, first of all, I'm glad you made it past cancer. And I love hearing stories about players and clubs helping out. Just a small chat can go a long way. City-Country must be saved.

Col Quinn, you are spot on about the important of an international program in rugby league. Those against it are union stooges.

Mav63, you make a good case for Mal. Chicken George over Joey as nicknames is a very persuasive argument.  And another hooray for international footy.

Ferret, I'd be happy to provide some advice to the Queensland and Australian selectors on Dave Taylor. I'm sure Michael Maguire would as well. Mal certainly has the record but I don't feel he was as brilliant as Joey and I don't think he fundamentally changed the way the game was played. If Mal was to make it, it would be deserved but to my thinking he is behind Joey.

Slammin Sam, you are on the money about Soward. He is playing a treat and he has been victimised again by Ricky Stuart. Anyone who understands league knows how he is just doing his job week after week.

Laurie and Ceage, there is no HD in Sydney because Nine have only recently adapted to colour television.

Keith, the criteria for the original Immortals and maintained ever since is that only post-War players are included. I tend to agree with that sentiment though a case could be made for Dally Messenger, Dave Brown, Harold Horder and Frank Burge. What league does need is a proper Hall of Fame – a physical building – where these greats can be properly honoured.  And I agree that Yappy has suffered in the comparisons with Summons. The one thing Holman had going for him is that he never devoted a major part of his life to rugby union.

Dan, I didn't remember the details of the Ben Kennedy and Brandon Pearson/Costin move. Gigantic mistake letting BK go.

Ferret, it was disgraceful that Nine showed Parramatta-Wests Tigers. They should have no right to choose games but you'd think that if they did, they would choose a half-interesting one.

Jeff McGinn, apologies for getting us on the same page! City v Country is just a wonderful event and one I hope stays around forever and a day.

Beard Watch: Neil Henry doesn't always make the right call with team selection but he certainly made the right call to put away his razor and grow those whiskers. His salt and pepper beard has come up an absolute treat. He is no doubt very popular with the ladies now.

Watch It: This week we go back to 1962 to watch highlights from a handheld camera and watch Newcastle v Great Britain. Featuring a young Les Johns, the highlight of this archive delve is the barracking in the background. Watch it here.





Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "…totally forgettable trio Daniel Irvine, Makasini Richter and Daniel Irvine.."  Daniel Irvine sounds pretty memorable, with the missing player truly forgettable.


    David Taylor went well in the test match as well.  He played the same sort of football as he did against North Qld.  With luck, it will become a fixture for the rest of the year.

  2. kginger says:

    bravo bravo bravo nick finally some one with some spine calling ricky stuart out. he has no idea how to pick an origin team, sowards treatment is nothing short of appaling. i petition you to post this ricky stuart reference on the roar. as it is i might make several posts at a latter date on this very site when i think of just how terrible he has acted in the lead up to this soo. jarryd hayne over jamie soward! you stupid git.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ben Roberts should have been the first player to ever recieve 4 willie M points for his dedication to throwing the game away. Surely hayne should have had a few willie m's too for his non-partipation in the game as a whole.

    After much deliberation I must admit I throughtly enjoyed the city-country match the other night, but not as a origin selection game more just as a game played 'old school' style, out in the country with plenty of cheering fans and that whole not McStadium feel about it. We should bring more games to the country on a regular basis through the year not just in NSW. The perth game earlier this year had the same feel about it too.

    As for NSW I think its fair to say that we can write off this year already and possibly 1-2 more as well. I cant see things improving in the short time and as for long term success that requires dedication to a stable team, we know thats defintely not going to happen under the current coaching and selection criteria.


  4. Anonymous says:

    hey nick not much about desperate des and c nterbury mate has the cat got your tongue

    • Bulldogtimbo says:

      In reply to  Anonymous on Tue, 01/05/2012 – 14:33   You surely can't be serious can you,the Dogs lost to Melbourne in Melbourne by 6 then got pipped by Manly by 2.Some may say they might have won both those games with a bit of luck.Tonight the Dogs showed what they are capable of,albeit against the WORST TEAM OF THE LAST DECADE filled with some of the most over-hyped & over-paid players ever seen on a footy field.