From The Couch: Round 8

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on May 6, 2013

Blues Lose with Laurie’s Folly: When he called matches, I often wondered what planet Laurie Daley was on. Now he is the all-powerful coach of New South Wales – a position he landed without any top grade experience as a head coach – I am sure he is not of this world. Only someone not quite there of mind and fairly wild of heart would deem it responsible to declare that 15 of the 17 Blues positions have been secured – a month out from Origin I.

Those who have locked down spots are Mitchell Pearce (who has shown time and again he is not up to Origin standard), Jarryd Hayne (who has struggled in 2013) and god knows who else. Perhaps even Willie Mason has locked down a spot! Heaven, why don’t we show some more loyalty to Ben Creagh and James McManus.

Daley has totally undermined the selection process and has shown he has no comprehension of what is needed for the Blues to finally break Queensland’s grip on Origin. We are gone. Get ready for eight in a row, I am sorry to say.

No Sin in the Penalty Bin: With all this back-and-forth about how the sin bin should be properly used – and there is no question its use needs to be expanded upon – one idea that has slipped through the cracks is the introduction of an NHL-style penalty bin. It is an idea with plenty of merit.

The idea is a fairly simple one. Players are despatched to the sin bin for either five or 10 minutes, depending on the severity of the offence. That player fulfils his time in the bin unless the opposition try scores in his time off the field, at which point the binned player returns from the field.

What this does is punish a player and a team but only as much as one converted try.

It works in hockey where the average number of goals is only slightly smaller than the average number of tries in a rugby league game.

With this, current binnable offences would be five minutes while severe acts of foul play – serious but not worthy of send off – would get 10. It gives officials more room to act against foul play while not severely depleting a team or allowing a team to escape essentially scot-free.

Bye, Bye Ben … Rugby Will Suit You: It is with some sadness that I read this report in the Sydney Morning Herald last Friday that Ben Roberts is seemingly on the outs at Parramatta and is on his way to rugby union most likely. Some sadness because, well, it is a treat to see him in blue and yellow making moronic decisions, playing like a fool, missing tackles. And, now, seemingly, no more. Say it ain’t so, Ricky, say it ain’t so. The perfect triangle of Roberts, Ricky and the Eels cannot be broken!

The Knives are Out: My good friend Nick Lawler – a good friend despite his allegiance to Parramatta – has not taken kindly to the Eels’ wretched form in 2013 and penned this very enjoyable letter to coach Ricky Stuart.

Dear Ricky Stuart,

I’ve been an Eels fan since 1982, but I think I’ve just watched my last Eels game for 2013. The Penrith game was a disgrace. Ben Smith should never play first grade football again. Ben Roberts needs to go, his decision making is poor and he makes errors every second touch. No other first grade team would have them. The players look tired. Matt Keating was a superstar last season but looks slow and woeful this year. 

It’s not all bad news I don’t believe. Kelepi Tanginoa is a superstar. Loko and Lussick try hard every game. Hayne is our only representative quality player who will perform better when getting better service and support. Sio and Tautai look solid first graders given time. Mannah tries hard with limited talent.

I know you can’t make a silk purse from a sows ear, but in 2009 we had little talent too yet chose a style of play which suited. We ran in numbers with the ball out in front, options inside and outside so the defence could not commit. Offloads got us to a GF. Sure, we lost ~12 games in a row at one stage there in 2009, but we also won a couple towards the end.

Just had to get this off my chest. I fear how many long-term Eels fans we’re losing by continuing to play such rubbish football and continuing to play such rubbish players (eg. Smith and Roberts).

Good luck rebuilding. All the best.

Nick Lawler

Highlight of the Week #1: News filtering through from the Queensland bush that the Clermont Bears had downed the Dysart Bulls 86-1. The Bears led 80-0 when the Bulls took the one. Nothing has swelled my heart more.

Highlight of the Week #2: Brent Tate’s ‘Featherstone’ try. Tate packed in at lock against the Eels and scored the decisive try by picking the ball up and strolling over untouched from 20 metres out. I haven’t seen a try like that in 25 years.

A Sin Forever and a Day: It is astonishing that Shaun Johnson’s tap forward try was allowed against the Titans. Johnson clearly knocked the ball up and forward deliberately. Such a play – as Steve Mascord, who beat me to the punch rightly said – has been barred since the days of Dally Messenger. How every official missed it is beyond me. Perhaps Daniel Anderson needs to run a few more educational courses for his referees.

John O’Neill is a Bum: The ex-rugby union head honcho has taken his hatred of rugby league to a new dimension by pulling the sponsorship of The Star from South Sydney. The deal is worth over $2 million. Some old hatreds never die. That is why the quicker we put an end to that ridiculous sport that nobody but the silver spooners enjoy, the better off we all will be.

The Willie M Medal: Such has been the popularity of The Willie M Medal that it has become bigger than the confines of From The Couch. The Willie M Medal votes and leaderboard will now be published each and every Monday night. So check in tomorrow for all the latest Willie M action.

Fun Fact #1: Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich is the only player in premiership history to play over 50 games and have a winning percentage of over 80 per cent. He has played in 51 wins and 12 losses.

Fun Fact #2: Six current players have participated in more than 130 losses: Scott Prince (157, 1st all-time), John Morris (143, 7th), Ashley Harrison (140, 10th), Nathan Fien (138, 12th), Mark Minichiello (137, 14th) and Matt Bowen (133, 20th).

Rumour Mill: Warriors backrower Feleti Mateo has been strongly linked to the Dragons, as they go on their high-end recruitment drive. Josh Dugan will sign with the club within the next week. Todd Carney was spotted at Oki Jubilee on Monday night and is well in the mix to join the club also. Despite conjecture that Israel Folau is close to extending his stay in rugby union, he will be at Canterbury in 2014 – you can put your last on that. Adam Cuthbertson has been touted for a move to Super League.

What I Love About … Ray Warren: Puig Aubert references … amazing. Only the great Ray Warren could slip one in so seamlessly.

Betting Market of the Week: That this week, you, Dear Reader, will:

$1.50: Inform Phil Rothfield (@BuzzRothfield) that you know he has stolen The Willie Ms in the shape of these ridiculous Sally Ms
$2.20: Inform Phil Rothfield (@BuzzRothfield) that he should be ashamed of himself for his blatant plagiarism and abuse of his profile
$2.40: Inform Phil Rothfield (@BuzzRothfield) that the Making The Nut fanbase will overrun his Twitter feed until he admits he has stolen the idea
$2.50: Inform Phil Rothfield (@BuzzRothfield) that Cronulla have never won a premiership and are unlikely to ever do so before they leave The Shire for good (sorry Sharks fans, but we need to go for the jugular)

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

Combo XIII of the Week: The Sharks and the Knights have a long history of sharing players, predominantly over the last decade where the road between The Shire and The Hunter is well worn. Here are the best players to play for both clubs.
1. Dustin Cooper
2. Luke MacDougall
3. Beau Scott
4. Russell Richardson
5. Darren Albert
6. Matthew Johns
7. Brett Kimmorley
13. Matt Hilder
12. Jeremy Smith
11. Cameron Ciraldo
10. Kade Snowden
9. Isaac De Gois
8. Tim Maddison

Correspondence Corner: Anonymous, apologies, of course Phil Blake is in the all-time Manly/Souths team!

Anonymous, Joel Edwards laying out Faifai-Loa was amazing. He laid him out. Edwards just nailed him. Wowee.

Jason from Singapore, you are right – the one area rugby union has got right is the use of the send off and sin bin. Referees need to be given the directive to start pulling the trigger more.

Anonymous, coaches (and so-called journalists, thank you Phil Rothfield) cannot be awarded votes but it makes no sense to me why the most high-strung player at the club and a player barred for two seasons for drug use were made captain ahead of more deserving players like Tim Mannah, Fuifui Moimoi and, well, the list is pretty small.

Anonymous, a lack of involvement certainly can lead to votes. As can playing scared. Roy Asotasi is playing so poorly at present. It is time to shift Burgess back up front and bring back Michael Crocker.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Other than his $800,000-a-season contract, is there any reason Ricky Stuart’s future at the Eels shouldn’t be under consideration? While it is only early doors – eight games – those at Parramatta should be mighty concerned. Whether it is their 2-6 record or their spot  on the 15th rung of the ladder, the fact the Eels have the worst defensive record in a league where defence is king, the inability of the Eels to recruit when Stuart made his ability to recruit significant in the hiring process, it appears that he is failing on every level. He won’t be fired this year. Parramatta can’t afford to. But it looks like he should be.

The Life and Times of the Special Needs Penguin: Ben Pomeroy has another special match against Newcastle, dropping two balls and missing three tackles. The Sharks winning with him playing centre should net the club three premiership points, such is the handicap.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 8: Newcastle-Cronulla, 20-21. Talk about a courageous victory. The Sharks, in the throes of this nasty ASADA investigation, lost Paul Gallen in the opening five minutes yet still managed to fight back to win in golden point against a very ordinary Knights outfit who just couldn’t find the jugular. The nine field goal attempts at the death didn’t hurt either.

Beard Watch: David Williams has always been a strong purveyor of facial hair but it is unclear whether he is coming or going this year. When he does make it onto the field, sometimes there is flowing beard, other times, no dice. Come on Wolfman … consistency is the name of the game.

Watch It: We dig back in the archives this week to the 1982 KB Cup final between Manly and Newtown at Leichhardt Oval. Phil Blake’s amazing run and pass that led to Michael Blake’s try was the highlight. That, along with the excellent presentation ceremony. Watch it here.


Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lawler will watch another Eels game this year. He will witness how its possible for someone to bluff a club into paying a squllion dollars for a jersey flegg coach. It’s amazing. Ricky shows how anyone can do it. You just gotta believe champ.
    Tony Monero

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is "Featherstone" an ET's Rugby League reference???  Nice.  Still the greatest rugby league computer game ever, and that was the most lethal move in the ET repertoire.


    submitted by Sideline

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why Folau? The bloke is the most untrustworthy player to lace a boot since…. SBW. The dogs don’t need him, but if he helps win us a premiership, well, he is welcome. I think that keating, Morris, Tapau and Hogkinson are goners and Mbye will be blooded before seasons end with an eye to the future and salary cap.


    • SemiiPro says:

      It’s hard not to agree with Zig on Folau. But isn’t Izzy pure Rugby League? I mean, he’s just following in the steps of the Teflon Johns Brothers and others. Seemingly morally bankrupt people making millions and getting away with it. Kudos Izzy. Make hay while the sun’s shining!

      (After my existential crisis, I’m throwing in the towel and am endeavouring to live and let live)

  4. SemiiPro says:

    Just a bit more on Newcastle and that phoney, Bennett. Don’t underestimate Bennett’s embarrassment in being sucked in by Tinkler. Bennett looks like an absolute fool. So now, he no longer believes in his infallibility. Bennett is lost. He’s coaching like a muppet and I don’t see him getting better.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nick what is the point of Izzys ridiculous excursion into union and how can the Digs fit him under the cap? Dogs and Souths have huge numbers if huge names and never get called into cap questioning

  6. SemiiPro says:

    Newcastle still at 5 in your power rankings? They will make a non-believer of you yet. They are 12 at best.

    Well, you can’t go wrong bagging Daley and Stuart. Incredibly ordinary coaches. NSW will get flogged and Parra will get the spoon. Therefore, because the world is so just, they will both be re-employed next year, in the same jobs, and will collectively collect $1million in wages.

    I need a lie down after that thought. It’s given me an existential headache. Why exist at all in such an absurd world?