From The Couch
Paul Gallen is a Cheap Thug…Cronulla lock Paul Gallen is a cheap thug who should be suspended for at least a month for working over Anthony Laffranchi’s nasty facial wound. Gallen seemingly tore at the face of Laffranchi after the latter was tackled in a play that eventually won the Titans the game as the Gold Coast extended their lead from six to eight on the back of the penalty. Gallen also allegedly squeezed the testicles of another player. Paul Gallen has a history of low acts and his behaviour against the Gold Coast comes as no surprise. The NRL need to step in and ensure he plays the game in the correct spirit.
Martin Bella Moment of the Week…Raiders journeyman Colin Best playing the ball in the wrong direction. Best, seemingly a little dazed after being tackled near his The Greatest Field Goal Ever…Nathan Cayless stunned the rugby league world with a key field goal in the dying minutes of Friday night’s clash with Newcastle. The big prop was cool and composed as he slotted the game-tying drop goal with less than two minutes remaining. There is nothing like watching a front row forward nail a field goal to remind you of the joy of watching rugby league.own tryline, rose to his feet like a just-tranquilized goat and then played the ball 180 degrees from correct. It reminded many astute observers of Martin Bella’s Origin days. Best immediately attempted to explain his shame by clutching his head and hitting his haunches. The Colin Best Express never fails to entertain. He is a modern day Matthew Reick.
Reasons To Love Rugby League…Brisbane Polar Bear Ben Hannant. He was a little dizzy after launching himself into Ray Cashmere during the first tackle of the Queensland Derby last Friday night. It was a kamikaze like attack and Hannant went down like a drunk on a mattress. But he was straight back up, laying on shots and scoring tries and running hard. The future is bright for Ben Hannant though it is doubtful that he will remember much once the lazy days of retirement come.
Bitches #1…North Queensland. Thumped 36-2 by the Broncos on Friday, the Cowboys have now lost all three this season and their brand of football has been appalling. Graham Murray probably needs to go and those players who are reportedly causing internal division need to be disciplined or moved on. The Cowboys are embarrassing themselves this season.
Bitches #2…South Sydney. The Bunnies could not even beat Penrith. They have shown little commitment in defense and not an iota of talent with the ball. Souths, seemingly, have returned to the team that we all know and accept, like flies on a summer evening.
Bitches #3…New Zealand. The Warriors may have lost their three best players to injury but that was no excuse for the appalling turnstile defence offered by the Warriors against Manly. Michael Witt played one of the dumbest games of recent memory and the lack of commitment by the Warriors pack (Luck and Fien excepted) was simply astonoshing. The Warriors need to man up in coming weeks.
Why Gorden Tallis Should Not Call Rugby League #1…Gold Coast winger “Jordan Atkinson”. Gordy must not have bothered with the newspapers after Atkins four-try debut.
Why Gorden Tallis Should Not Call Rugby League #2…Screwed up mixed metaphors that involved Greg Norman’s putter going to a lot of clubs. Don’t worry; it made sense to nobody, even at the time.
Why Gorden Tallis Should Not Call Rugby League #3…An irritating habit of passive aggression that annoys both viewers and his fellow commentator. Tallis has a habit of agreeing with his fellow commentator whilst vehemently disagreeing with him by simply deferring to his image of simple-mindedness and offering below-the-breath one-liners. Highly irritating.
“How Dare You, I Have A Voice Related Medical Condition”…Fox Sports sideline reporter Mark O’Neill. O’Neill, new to the gig of talking, failed to break his monosyllabic monotone until he repeatedly reported with some puppy-dog excitement that Phil Graham would not be back for the remainder of the night. For those who saw Graham leave the field with his knee cap not near his knee, that conclusion was reached some time before O’Neill’s scoop.
Team Dumb Enough To Have Kept Nathan Brown for Five Plus Seasons…The St. George-Illawarra Dragons. How sad.
Hometown Hero…Gavin Badger is the hometown hero of the NRL and he proved it once more on Saturday evening by playing a key role in getting the Raiders home. Badger awarded a number of penalties to the home team when they appeared down and out. In the end, it proved telling, the Raiders sneaking home by seven. Of the 44 matches Badger has officiated in the top grade, the home team has won on 30 occasions. This season home teams are 3-0 while home teams have won six consecutive games under Badger.
Hometown Villain…Neil Henry is no longer regarded with much fondness in the Nation’s Capital. Henry, a Raiders foundation player, was hired for three years as a relative unknown by the Raiders at the start of the 2007 season. Barely a season in, Henry has used the leverage from a get-out clause in his contract to leave the Raiders at the end of this season to take up the role of head coach of the Cowboys. The Raiders have always prided themselves on loyalty and they demand the same from their staff so this departure will not go down well with board members, players and fans alike. Neil Henry should be ashamed of not fulfilling his contract and he should be embarrassed at his lying to the public and his players.
Round Three in 1998…The much-lauded Adelaide Rams upset the Bulldogs 22-20 at Adelaide with both Daryl Halligan and Luke Williamson nailing 2/5…Steve “The Pearl” Renouf scored four tries as the Broncos defeated Penrith 26-18…the Cowboys survived the send-off of Andrew Dunemann to defeat Parramatta 16-15 in a three field goal game…Andrew Leeds scored eighteen points in the Magpies 42-6 win over the hapless Rabbitohs…in a boilover, Balmain defeated Manly, who had made the three previous Grand Finals, 18-4.
Leif Robertson…that is one kick-ass Viking beard Michael Robertson. No wonder you scored three tries against the Warriors
Great Canterbury Backrower of Yesteryear…Robert Relf.
Game of the Year Nominations, Rounds 1-3…Parramatta-Newcastle, 24-23 (Rd 3)…Roosters-Brisbane, 14-20 (Rd 2)…Parramatta-Bulldogs, 28-20 (Rd 1)
Fantasy Players of the Week…Brett Stewart, Feleti Mateo, Sonny Bill Williams, Jarryd Hayne, Willie Tonga, Israel Folau, Hazem El Masri, Anthony Watmough, Ben Hannant, Luke Patten, Andrew Ryan.
Surprise Fantasy Players of the Week…Sam Perrett, Michael Robertson, Troy Thompson, Brett Finch, Joel Monaghan, Matt Orford, Brad Meyers, Tonie Carroll, Darius Boyd, Jason Nightingale.
Rebecca Wilson-Danny Wiedler, Scorecard…Wilson, unfortunately, got back off the deck and back in the print. On that alone, she edged out Danny Boy 10-9. For the rest of us, her simplistic and undeveloped arguments fill our newspapers and her cheap gossip mongering fills our thoughts.
And One Final Thought…There has been a definite tendency for referees to call knock-back in plenty of line ball decisions this season. This is a complete reversal of the trend starting in the early nineties where a touch-football mentality was applied, resulting in plenty of dropped ball being ruled a knock-on. This current reversal in mentality is certainly benefiting the game, providing fewer stoppages and opening the game right up. It is rare that I offer applause to rugby league officialdom but on this count, I doff my hat.