From The Couch: Round 9
The Shame of Rep Selection: The NRL should be deeply embarrassed by this coming rep weekend. They have again shown total disregard for anything outside club football and it is a great blight on the game. Semi Radradra is unnecessarily playing for Australia. Anthony Milford refuses to play for Samoa. The City side is full of players who can’t make first grade regularly. And the New Zealand Warriors are making selection calls for the Kiwis as well as half the Pacific nations. International football should be a crowning jewel. It should be nurtured, grown, loved. This is just a slap in the face to rep footy and another example of the NRL not being able to see out its own ass.
Lord Help The Bunker: It is time to end this stupidity with The Bunker and it is time to do it now. Yes, technology is required. Yes, The Bunker has a role to play. But it cannot be in its current format. The obstruction ruling has become a joke, exemplified by Benji Marshall’s no-try. The Bunker should no longer be able to rule on obstruction or anything that occurs in the field of play. They get the touchline and the goalline and that is it. How the NRL continues to mess up is truly astonishing.
Parramatta Deserve More Than What They Will Cop: The Parramatta Eels will be handed a significant penalty on Tuesday. They will be deducted points. It will be enough to hurt but they will still be eligible for the finals. They should not be though. The Eels should be thrown out of the premiership race. They should suffer the death penalty endured by Canterbury and Melbourne. They systematically breached the cap and undertook a significant cover-up. The only difference was that they were typically incompetent with everything. The Eels deserve no leniency. The NRL should punish to the full, force the board out and let the Eels start anew.
2016 Field Goal Update – 14: Peter Wallace’s match-winner in Bathurst made it 14 field goals for the year. It was the field goal that shouldn’t have been though according to the league, who said the Raiders were screwed out of a penalty. It followed a dreadful miss from Aidan Sezer.
Fun Fact #1: The Dragons are 0-3 with Josh Dugan in the centres and 4-2 with him at fullback.
Fun Fact #2: The Dragons are 0-4 with Benji Marshall at halfback this year and 4-1 with Josh McCrone.
Rumour Mill: The Roosters are set to make a big play for Parramatta star Corey Norman. The Eels are incredibly vulnerable at present and could lose their brightest young talent. Speculation has been running rife that Souths are prepared to let Greg Inglis move to Brisbane mid-season if the Broncos can fit him into the salary cap. Ivan Cleary is firming for the South Sydney head coaching job with Michael Maguire expected to be moved on at the end of the year. Konrad Hurrell is expected to be released by the Warriors this week.
Betting Market of the Week: For entertainment this week, senior Warriors players will:
$1.60: Undermine their coach
$3.00: Care more about celebrations than wins
$101: Take a game of football seriously and with full commitment
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The Bozo and Barrett Show: The insistence on playing Darcy Lussick is nothing but pure Bozo meddling. Lussick is to first grade what John Howard is to Test cricket. Yet he miraculously appears in the top grade most weeks. It surely has nothing to do with the relationship between Fulton and Lussick’s father Jason, who played for Manly in the late 1980s.
What I Like About … Tony Williams: Nothing … absolutely nothing. He is a pretender, a fraud, a joke and should never be seen in first grade again.
The Coaching Crosshairs: The Warriors may have won Sunday against the Dragons but it won’t do much to save Andrew McFadden’s job. McFadden has taken a tough stance against some senior players – something he had to do – but Konrad Hurrell’s insurrection seems to have opened up the sore that is the divide between coach and players. It is an irreparable rift that won’t end well for McFadden.
Game of the Year Nomination, Round 9: Cronulla – Brisbane, 30-28. It looked like a fizzer but turned into a real humdinger with the Broncos nearly running over the top of a stoic Cronulla side. Mid-season games don’t get much better than this.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Paul McGregor takes the cake this week with his stupid decision to play Josh Dugan in the centres. Again. In a week he was done drink driving, shifting Josh Dugan to centre was perhaps his dumbest move of the week. McGregor blunted one of the few attacking weapons the Dragons had and compounded it by recalling Benji Marshall. He just isn’t cut out for top grade coaching.
Beard Watch: While it was a disgrace to the international game that Semi Radradra was picked for Australia, it was great to see a big old beard get the national call-up.
Correspondence Corner: West Coast Dragon, it looks like the mail was wrong and Coote has magically re-signed with the Cowboys.
Dan, the Perth Tigers are certainly not out of the reckoning.
Watch It: There aren’t enough Rugby League documentaries. Here is one that includes some fantastic old footage and hosted by some doyens in Ian Heads and Alan Clarkson. Watch it here.