Season 2009: Round 13

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on December 2, 2010

From The Couch


The Panel: Frustration with the video referees and the continued justification of their mistakes from referees boss Robert Finch is so intense that the NRL is looking into appointing a panel of ex-players and coaches that would operate out of a war room at NRL headquarters who would have the right to overrule any decision made by the video referee. The idea could not sound more ridiculous but such is the frustration with the inconsistent and insane rulings of the video officials that the idea should at least be looked into. The two most concerning factors are the possible timing problems employing such a panel would have on matches and the makeup of the panel. The first can easily be solved by giving the panel 15 seconds to make a ruling after the video referee has but the second presents something of a greater challenge. We do not want to end up with pedants like Robert Finch in there just as we don't want to include fools like Mark Geyer or Gary Freeman. And we can only imagine the carnage if Craig Field and Leo Dynevor were in the war room with Julian O'Neill and Scott Wilson. An intense screening process would be required as would a Diner like football quiz to test football literacy. A coach's challenge system with a burden of proof of conclusive evidence to overturn the on-field decision would be the best way to overhaul the video referee system but after some insane "benefit of the doubt" decisions over the last month, anything that could possibly improve the standard of video refereeing should be tried.

The Original Swine Flu: There is plenty of concern about swine flu in rugby league at present with Ben Hannant currently locked down in quarantine and all Queensland Origin players being kept away from their clubs. The hammer is coming down heavy and everything is being done to prevent a further outbreak. But very little was done to stop the previous strain of the disease that roamed free from 2001-2008. Those forced to watch the overweight Mark "Piggy" Riddell waddle across football fields across Australia, giving away dumb penalties and offering his tribute to the fuehrer when taking shots at goals, became extraordinarily sick. I could rarely hold down food when watching either the Dragons or the Eels in that period and during the 2005 City-Country match I had to be hospitalised after losing consciousness for a good fifteen minutes. They were brutal times but luckily the strain has been eradicated in these parts. Unfortunately for those in Northern England, it roams free in Lancashire and Yorkshire and occasionally in the Catalan region of France .

Hit of the Year: Lagi Setu laying out Sika Manu in a brutal hit during the Broncos-Storm match last Friday. Setu launched himself at Manu as Manu hit the ball up at the line, flying into the burly Storm backrower and sending him backwards. The shot was brutal and the impact could have been up around the 15-16G range. That hit will be seen on highlight reels for years to come.

Strange Occurrence: The Dragons opted to decline a conversion attempt in the dying moments of their Monday night match against the Titans. Ben Hornby scored a try in the last minute of play and with the Dragons still down by four Hornby waved the kick away and gave his side one last play at victory. The declined conversion is a rare occurrence indeed.

Shock Horror: The Sydney gutter press didn't link the sex tape of Wally Lewis's son to the misogynistic culture in rugby league. It seemed a perfect opportunity for AFL lover Rebecca Wilson to sink the slipper into rugby league once again.

Toughen Up Tony Danza: I unashamedly gush when I watch Jamie "Tony Danza" Soward play but a nasty element has started to creep into his game and he had want to get rid of it before he is labelled a grub and a cheat, smears not easily removed. Tony Danza stayed down when tackled late against the Titans in a seemingly innocuous hit by Esi Tonga that won the Dragons a penalty. That followed on from Soward's disgraceful yet successful attempt to win the Dragons a penalty against the Bulldogs. Staying down or diving is one of the worst sins in football. Tony Danza needs to get that pettiness out of his game and he needs to do it immediately.

The Jarryd Hayne All Stars: When there is a new contract on the line or a rep jersey up for grabs, Jarryd Hayne all of a sudden gets the urge to start playing well. Pride in his jersey or the want to win two competition points for his teammates and his fans isn't really enough to get him going. Hayne isn't the only player who shows his best when there is some individual benefit to be gained, however. These players are generally contemptible, leeches on the neck of the game, parasites that deserve to be whipped without mercy by all and sundry. If the following team were to play each weekend, the front office would have to keep them all on six week contracts because if this lot don't sing for their supper they don't sing at all.

The Jarryd Hayne All Stars

1. Jarryd Hayne

2. David Simmons

3. Willie Tonga

4. Krisnan Inu

5. Eric Grothe

6. Braith Anasta

7. Brett Finch

13. Anthony Watmough

12. Carl Webb

11. Willie Mason

10. Ben Ross

9. John Morris

8. Mark O'Meley

14. Antonio Kaufusi

15. Joel Clinton

16. Joe Galuvao

17. Anthony Tupou

The Worst Haircut in Rugby League: Parramatta cannonball Fuifui Moimoi has already wrapped up the title of worst haircut in rugby league, following on from past winners like Des Hasler, Kerry Helmsley, David Solomona, Andrew Johns (the dyed hair era) and Jarrod Sammut. Moimoi has decided to run with yellow tips on the end of each of his mini-dreadlocks in what will surely go down as one of the worst haircuts in the history of big time rugby league. Seeing such a style on a gigantic islander known for his wrecking ball style and proclivity to run sans fear makes the haircut all the more amusing. To honour big man with the bad cut, here is the Fuifui song for everyone to enjoy. ( )

Fun Fact #1: Chris Sandow leads the missed tackle count with an amazing 86 missed tackles from 11 matches. He also has 20 ineffective tackles. He leads the second placed Brett Kimmorley by 34. At Sandow's current rate of defensive ineptitude, he will break Brett Kimmorley's missed tackle record of 145 by round 20 and could well break 200 if he remains fit and in first grade.

Fun Fact #2: Chris Sandow came fourth in 2008 with 96 missed tackles in only 13 matches.

Fun Fact #3: Manly winger Anthony Suniala is the only player in the NRL this year to miss more tackles than he has made. Suniala made zero tackles in two matches, missing two tackles. He has not been seen in first grade since.

Fun Fact #4: Estelle Getty, Sophia in the Golden Girls, was actually younger than her on-screen daughter Dorothy, Bea Arthur, in real life. It is a wonderful fact to use in a proposition bet.

Coaching Stocks:

Wayne Bennett [5] Horrible opening half against the Titans but showed tremendous heart to come back. They are stilll the team to beat.

Craig Bellamy [5] Melbourne are working up to their best and are looking like a 4th GF is definitley in reach.

Brian Smith [4.5] The Knights were flat and lost to a competition lightweight. Need to forget that loss and move on immediately.

Kevin Moore [4.5] Bye: The bye probably came at the right time with Ben Hannant struck down with swine flu.

John Cartwright [4.5] Huge home win over the Dragons. 2nd half would be a worry but their attack was crisp and attitude was top rate.

Neil Henry [4] The Cowboys are rolling along in excellent style and can fight for the titlle if they maintain current form.

Ivan Henjak [3] One of the Broncos all time worst efforts against the Storm. Henjak needs to steady the sinking ship quickly.

Matt Elliott [3] The Panthers continue to overachieve and will take great heart from getting a win without Jennings .

Tim Sheens [2.5] The Tigers lost a most winnable game with some shoddy handling. Finals football is a long way away at present.

Des Hasler [2.5] The Eagles seem to be back on track with another good win.

David Furner [2] Bye: The Raiders need to build on the momentum of their last win if they are to make a finals run.

Jason Taylor [0.5] Got towelled up again in another pathetic showing. Taylor 's needs to cut Sandow and get structure in attack.

Ivan Cleary [0] Losing to the Sharks was simply awful. The Warriors are playing terribly and Cleary seems bereft of answers.

Daniel Anderson [0] Parra win was the upset of the year. Why the Eels don't play with such enthusiasm every week is his next task.

Ricky Stuart [-1] Two wins on the trot is what was needed. Warriors win was huge. Gone with youngsters and that is smart.

Brad Fittler [-4] Another week, another caning. The Roosters showed a bit more heart but their deficiencies are deep.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 13: Gold Coast-St. George-Illawarra, 28-24. An ordinary slate of matches over the weekend produced as expected with the Eels upset of the Knights creating a little interest and the Storm hammering of the Broncos leading to that match being rated a total fizzer. The Titans-Dragons match seem destined for the same path when some ordinary officiating and a lack of intensity in defence led to the Titans leading the Dragons by the Richie Benaud score of 22-2 at the break. The Dragons could not get off their line and were then being carved up by Scott Prince's skill and Brad Meyer's beard and brute strength. The game looked over at the break but some outstanding play by Hornby, Soward and Sailor put the Dragons right back in the contest. The end came earlier than it should have, however, when the Dragons passed up a shot at goal when down 28-20 with twelve to go. They tapped and Creagh dropped the ball over the line. The Dragons got one more but it was all over by then. A topsy-turvy match with plenty of intensity and some super attack that led to plenty of drama at the death.

The Colin Best Express Fan Revue: CBE has hopefully been agitating for a coaching change at the Bunnies. His career depends on it. Jason Taylor, regarded by those who know the game as one of the dumbest men to ever involve himself in rugby league, has ruined CBE. Colin Best gets no room to move, Taylor does little to promote attack, he allows Chris Sandow to play his individual game and Best gets played in the centre away from his best position of wing. If Taylor wasn't so cosy with the ownership of the club, he would have been out the door after last season's bitter failure.

What Did Shane Rodney Do This Week? "Sugar" Shane played 80 minutes for the first time since round nine, 2006.

Beard Watch: The end is drawing near for the finest conglomerate of rugby league beards in many a year. The Penrith Panthers, who have all adorned beards for charity (and have, not surprisingly, been winning matches because of it), will reportedly shave them off. It will be the biggest tragedy of the season. Mo Blair's beard, in particular, has really turned into something special. It brings back memories of a mid-eighties Joe Kilroy. Shane Elford is looking more and more fearsome by the week. And Matt Elliott.well, lucky he got a contract extension because his beard would have been a little too close to reality had he been thrown to the streets. Hopefully the Panthers will reconsider their decision to go clean shaven; their finals hopes surely depend upon it.

Thems Were The Days: Rugby league on the Gold Coast is these days something to be proud of. On the field the Titans are competitive with an array of representative stars like Luke Bailey, Scott Prince and Anthony Laffranchi. They have a state-of-the-art home ground where they are very hard to beat. John Cartwright is a superb coach and Michael Searle is one of the most innovative chief executives in the game. It hasn't always been that way on the Gold Coast though. In fact for eleven mostly miserable seasons, rugby league on the Gold Coast was nothing more than a joke. In that time the club withstood four different names, three wooden spoons, the worst home ground in the league, a lack of fanfare and financial support and general misery. At one stage the club was even owned by a man who let his wife select the first grade team based on their attractiveness! When the Gold Coast entered the competition in 1988 with the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights, they got off on the wrong foot. For starters the Giants, as they were then known, were forced to play out of Tweed Heads because the Broncos had a clause that they were to be the only team in South East Queensland. A failure to attract big names also meant crowds were small when the wins were hard to come by and the wins were always hard to come by. In the first season under Bob McCarthy, with an aging Chris Close and rampaging forward Ron Gibbs the biggest signings, the Giants managed only four wins. Bob Lindner arrived in 1989 but it did little to improve matters with the Giants climbing only as high as 13th position. It would be their second highest finish ever.

In 1990 the Gold Coast dropped the Tweed from their name and became the Seagulls but after only four wins and a 15th placed finish, coach Bob McCarthy was out. 1991 was actually a season of hope for the Seagulls. Wally Lewis, the legend, was coming to town and crowds shot up 25%. The season turned out to be the first of three consecutive wooden spoons, however, with only two wins recorded. Wally Lewis became captain-coach in 1992 but the Seagulls could win only seven matches in two years. The Seagulls could not break five wins for the next three years and endured some terrible mismanagement that saw the Seagulls withdraw their funding and ownership of the club sold to businessman Jeff Muller. Muller, very much a hands-on owner, changed the name to the Gladiators and marginalised nearly everybody at the club, even allowing his wife to influence recruitment and team selection based on the attractiveness of player's backsides. In only three months, the Gladiators went through five coaches. Muller's licence was quickly revoked and the ARL assumed ownership, the farce too great for the ARL to accept. What followed was a name change to the Chargers and the club's most successful ever season. In 1997, with the competition split, the Gold Coast won ten matches and played in their only finals series, defeating Illawarra before going down to the Roosters. Led by Graham Mackay, Wes Patten, Brendan Hurst, Jamie Goddard and Marty Bella (and, of course, Captain Charger), the Titans had reached their high point . In 1998, with the competition reunited, the Chargers returned the norm and failed miserably. It would signal the end. The Chargers rejected a merger with the Hunter Mariners and by 1999 they were gone. It was a wretched eleven years marked by mediocrity, failure, instability and mismanagement. Some quality players donned the region's colours and some promising players started out there but the club could just never put it together. Wally Lewis, Craig Coleman, Graham Mackay, Bob Lindner and Marty Bella all played for the Gold Coast at the back end of their careers while Jason Hetherington, Preston Campbell, Wayne Bartrim, Jamie Goddard, Ben Ikin and Marcus Bai all started there. It meant little in the end, however, and the club was shutdown with the Gold Coast not seeing rugby league again until 2007. Still, names like Keith Neller, Scott Mieni, Geoff Bagnall, Ben Gonzales and Danny Peacock live on in rugby league lore.

Fantasy Team of the Week:

1. N.Stapleton (Cro)

2. S.Kenny-Dowall (Roo)

3. A.Graham (NQ)

4. G.Inglis (Mlb)

5. J.Tomane (Mlb)

6. J.Mullen (New)

7. M.Orford (Man)

13. T.Waterhouse (Pen)

12. A.Laffranchi (GC)

11. B.Meyers (GC)

10. S.Price (NZ)

9. R.Farah (Tig)

8. N.Cayless (Par)

Geurie Greens Update: Steve Simpson's continued absence without leave will see his career at Geurie come to an end this week when the front office can get out trade offers. Two weeks in a row Simpson has been named and two weeks in a row he has been a late withdrawal. Brian Smith might be happy to deal with Simpson's aging bones by making him a game-time decision but that kind of laissez-faire attitude won't make the nut down Geurie way. Despite Simpson's absence, the Greens still got the job done against an Ardlethan team on the fringe of the five. It was an easy win and the thirteenth straight for Geurie.

What I Hate About Rebecca Wilson This Week: The fact that this scurrilous disgrace is invading Melbourne radio. Wilson popped up on SEN in the lead-up to Origin I and managed to completely denigrate club football with her lack of knowledge, her disparaging remarks about the game and her generally dopy demeanour. As much as she adores AFL, she should stay the hell away from Melbourne . Her kind aren't wanted here. Or anywhere else for that matter.

Watch It: It takes a pretty good shot to get sent off after 12 seconds in a Test match but that is what happened to Adrian Morley back in 2003 when the Roosters hard man laid out Robbie Kearns with a vicious swinging arm. The shot didn't miss, Kearns was riding Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Morley was hitting the showers before the first set of six was completed. (

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