Season 2009: Round 3

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

From The Couch

Down and Out at Brookvale Oval: Manly turned in one of the least intelligent and most arrogant displays of rugby league in recent memory when going down to the Penrith Panthers on Monday night. It was an embarrassing display from the defending premiers that sent their title defence into a tail spin. Against an inferior opposition and in torrential rain, Manly attempted to win the game through flick passes, long passes, pushed passes and downright dumb passes, usually to nobody in particular. Rather than play wet weather football, Manly tried to throw the ball wide and flat. It was as if Manly have never seen rain. Matt Orford must take most of the blame, making any number of handling errors himself while not laying the law down to his team. Anthony Watmough was awful. Adam Cuthbertson was worse. Glen Hall looked like he was unaware that he actually owned a pair of hands. If Manly play with such condescending arrogance and downright hick stupidity again, they will be given a real lesson in getting whipped.

Play of the Decade: David Furner may have started 0-3 but he will always hold a special place in the heart of the observant rugby league fan with a fondness for obscure set plays. Furner designed an old-school Moses play and it was pulled out against Parramatta and if it wasn’t for the stupidity of hooker Stuart Flanagan the Raiders would have scored a try. With a scrum set near the halfway line, the Raiders sent in speedy winger Justin Carney to pack down at lock. As the scrum broke up, half the Parramatta pack went one way while the remainder went the other. Carney simply waited, went straight through the parted Red Sea and headed towards the tryline untouched. The play was disallowed, however, because Flanagan grabbed onto a Parramatta player and refused to let go. The play was genius and hopefully the start of a new era in set trickery has dawned.

Hooked: One of the highlights of the weekend’s action was Matthew Elliott’s hooking of halfback Jarrod “Jaz” Sammut and the subsequent “ankle injury” the dragging caused. Elliott was furious with Sammut after an insipid opening eighteen minutes and sent word out that Sammut was to be removed from the field forthwith. Sammut then started hobbling, clutching his ankle before removing his boot as he walked from the field. It was a moment of great hilarity; particularly when sideline commentator Andy Raymond let all and sundry know that the incorrigible half had been substituted for poor form.

If There Was An NRL Draft Tomorrow: For players who have played less than ten games and are 21 or younger, these would be the top fifteen picks-

1. Jamal Idris: Looks another Israel Folau.
2. Josh Dugan: Outstanding prospect who has a huge future. Debuts Monday.
3. Chris Sandow: Reigning rookie of the year and already NRL established.
4. Ben Barba: Defensive concerns but the most talented playmaker in the NYC in ’08.
5. Wade Graham: One of the few genuine five-eighths coming through the ranks.
6. Joel Thompson: Lanky Raiders backrow who is perfect for the modern game.
7. Justin Carney: Strong and fast, he is one of the premier young outside backs.
8. Ben Hunt: Has huge wraps and will wear a first grade #7 sooner rather than later.
9. Esi Tonga: Has the right build, rugby league smarts and deep wells of talent.
10. John Kite: Massive frame who will excel with age and fitness.
11. Russell Packer: He has a huge future. The only concern is his lack of height.
12. Eddie Pettybourne: Needs some mongrel but has great skills for a big man.
13. Liam Foran: Needs plenty of time but looks a sharp half.
14. Daniel Mortimer: Another sharp half who has speed and versatility.
15. Daniel Harrison: With a bit of bulk will fill a Stagg/Johnson workhorse role.

NRL Player Exotics: Punters looking to take advantage of the plethora of stats now available thanks to the rise of fantasy football should head to Flemington Sportsbet, who are now offering a number of NRL player performance exotics. Flemington Sportsbet will be offering tackle head-to-head markets along with player metres markets. These markets offer a great opportunity to make a quid from the increased statistical knowledge many have developed over the last few seasons due to the ever pervading influence of fantasy football. Markets should be up on game-day.

Rumour of the Week: Michael Monaghan is working hard for a release with Warrington so he can rejoin his brother at the Canberra Raiders. Marc Herbert hasn’t really worked out in the seven jersey this season and the Raiders are believed to be very keen about the prospect of getting Monaghan back. He could be at Bruce Stadium by June.

Lie of the Week: Willie Mason and Nate Myles were both suspended for a game by the Roosters for having broken the club’s alcohol policy. Both allegedly had one or two beers in front of the footy at home on Sunday yet they were caught smelling of alcohol at training on Monday. Unless both have the hygiene of an Eastern European vagrant, it seems a rather long stretch of the truth that both had only one or two beers on Sunday afternoon. The more likely scenario is that both got wasted and had alcohol seeping from their pores on Monday. The Roosters attempt to cover up for Mason and Myles was not particularly well constructed.

Nathan Hindmarsh Has Plenty of Spare Time: And rather than have a press at the local club or hit the Sapphire Suite like many of his teammates, he spends it blogging. He provides a good insight into life as a first grade footballer and how the Parramatta Eels are travelling. He is a pretty funny bloke to boot. You can check on Hindy’s blog here.

Fun Fact #1: Jamal Idris weighs 106 kilograms and stands at 188cm tall. Ben Barba weights 86 kilograms and is 177cm tall. That is a 20 kilogram and 10cm advantage to Idris. Barba punched Idris last weekend.

Fun Fact #2: Willie Mason played 59 minutes last weekend. He made 17 tackles and 81 metres. His salary is reportedly $400,000 per year.

Fun Fact #3: Chris Walker played his first NRL game since 2007. He made no errors. That is possibly a first for his career.

Fun Fact #4: Manly completed 37% of their sets in the second half of their match with Penrith. George Rose completed 100% of his post-match pies.

Fun Fact #5: Joel Monaghan beat a strong field to win the 2008 Fanta Pants Award for the Oh Errol Ranga of the Year.

Coaching Stocks:

Coach Comment
Craig Bellamy The move of Smith to number six seemed to have paid dividend. There is no better coach at making small adjustments.
Wayne Bennett The Dragons would have lost that game against the Sharks last year. He has toughened the Dragons up plenty.
Ivan Henjak Huge win in NZ. Henjak has got the Broncos playing tough in defence and fluent in attack. Doing well in tough situation.
Ivan Cleary Home loss to Brisbane was a shock. Tough to argue against the improvement and discipline he has bought to the team.
Brian Smith The Knights were tough in defeat with the team ravaged by injury and backing-up from MNF. Will bounce back soon.
Neil Henry The "boom" tip is looking a little shaky at present. They were extremely unconvincing against Melbourne.
Kevin Moore The Titans loss was disappointing for the Dogs and Moore. He needs to get the Dogs handling the ball better.
Tim Sheens The Benji experiment is starting to reap rewards. Defence is still a concern. Deserves kudos for bringing in Ellis.
Daniel Anderson The Eels deserved to lose but got the points…that is a testament to the steely attitude Anderson has installed at Parramatta.
John Cartwright A massive win over the Dogs sans Prince. Cartwright does a great job of bringing his team together.
Des Hasler Manly are falling apart and Hasler looks a coach who lacks control. The discipline of Manly on Monday was shameful.
Jason Tayler The brilliance of Craig Wing got the Bunnies home in Rd3. Taylor needs to start him at hooker or five-eighth.
Ricky Stewart For a player who was an attacking genius, Stuart is the worst attacking coach in the NRL. He is being found out this year.
David Furner 0-3 is not a great way to start your coaching career though the Raiders were extremely stiff on Saturday night.
Brad Fittler The Roosters suffered another humiliating defeat and are embroiled in another drink scandal. Could go very soon.
Matt Elliot Held off the wolves for at least a few more weeks with a massive win over Manly. Dragging Sammut saved the day.


Game of the Year Nomination Round 3: Wests Tigers-Roosters, 40-24. A tough week on the eye with the Manly-Penrith game a real showcase of how to play dumb football, the Dragons-Cronulla match an exhibition in dourness and the Parramatta-Canberra match a display of awful refereeing. At least the Tigers-Roosters clash had some fantastic tries with Benji’s flick pass to Moltzen outstanding while Tuiaki’s bumping effort a real treat. All in all it was a poor weekend of rugby league.

Vale, Shane Neumann’s First Grade Career: Manly winger Shane Neumann committed six errors for the Sea Eagles on Monday, his error count for the night superseding his career games tally by one. It was an insipid performance that bought back fond memories of Paul Cariage. Neumann will never play NRL football again. He will be sorely missed.

Beard Watch: Adam Cuthbertson has been doing the old prospector beard no favours this year by combining it with a set of headgear. The old prospector beard is a statement that says “I’m wild, I’m tough, I’m capable of digging for gold anywhere and at any time”. Topping it off with headgear tends to undermine the message, saying “I’m tempered, I’m concerned about my skull, I may not be able to dig for gold if the weather is poor”. Adam Cuthbertson has always been the kind of show-pony and stupid player I have disliked and his undermining of the beard only fuels the fires of hate in these parts.

The Colin Best Express Fan Revue: There are still no signs of growth on the upper lip of Colin Best, much to the disappointment of his hordes of fans. Stay tuned for further updates.

What Did Shane Rodney Do This Week? He most likely went to the optometrist where he was diagnosed as blind. Shane Rodney exists in the pantheon of bad luck that Australia’s princess Sophie Delezio does. With Mick Monaghan gone, Shane Rodney seems like the right man to become Sophie’s hero at Manly.

Thems Were The Days: Australian rugby league has seen plenty of point-scoring and try-scoring freaks. Eric Simms. Mick Cronin. Daryl Halligan. Andrew Johns. Hazem El Masri. Ken Irvine. But there was none greater than the legendary Dave Brown, Australia’s greatest pre-war league player and a legitimate contender for Australia’s finest ever outside back. Brown, simply, was a star with a thirst for points unrivalled in the century long history of rugby league in Australia. His numbers are simply astonishing and it is beyond belief that a number of his season and single-game records still stand today. It is little wonder he was referred to as the Bradman of League. An Easts first grader at 16, Easts captain at 18 and an Australian captain at 22, Brown’s talent belied his age. In 94 games for Easts he scored 93 tries to go along with his 194 goals. In 1935 Brown scored 38 tries in 14 games, a mark that has never been neared. In two matches against Canterbury that season, Brown scored 83 points with 45 in the first encounter and 38 in the next, the first remaining a record to this day. Under Brown, Easts celebrated a golden era, winning the premiership from 1935-37 before Brown left to play for Warrington in England. Upon his return in 1940, Easts one the title again. Stories of his feats remain legendary and have taken on a Bradman-like aura when told. Tales such as his goal from 55 metres out on the sideline to win a spot in the Challenge Cup final for Warrington and tales like the Sydney Cricket Ground overflowing just to catch a glimpse of the point scoring wizard. To witness his feats would have been something.

Fantasy Team of the Week:

1. Billy Slater (Mlb)
2. Taniela Tuiaki (Tig)
3. Mitch Aubusson (Roo)
4. Chris Lawrence (Tig)
5. Eric Grothe (Par)
6. Craig Wing (Sou)
7. Benji Marshall (Tig)
13. David Stagg (Cant) [2]
12. Simon Mannering (War)
11. Feleti Mateo (Par)
10. Luke Douglas (Cro)
9. Robbie Farah (Tig) [2]
8. Brent Kite (Man)

Geurie Greens Update: The Geurie Greens recorded their biggest ever victory on the weekend, destroying arch-rivals Otford in a dominant performance. David Stagg again stood tall with another fine display of tackling and running while doubles to Taniela Tuiaki and Craig Wing and tries to Ben Creagh, Anthony Quinn and Joel Clinton (yes, unfortunately the softest forward in league is now a Green) certainly helped. The Greens are now 3-0 and take on the struggling Ardlethan Aardvarks this week. The Greens will most likely go in unchanged. The debut of Russell Packer for the club was also exciting with the youngster highly recommended for all fantasy owners.

What I Hate About Rebecca Wilson This Week: Wilson’s petty attacks on The Footy Show and Paul Vautin. Wilson was given a shot at the show and was such a catastrophic failure she was axed after only one show. Her stint followed her failings on The Fat, a fantastic show that she almost single-handedly ruined with her rudeness and irritability. Wilson should really look at getting some talent before slagging off on people who have contributed to the game.

Watch It: The Wonder Years, on Hits everyday at 3pm. It is a trip back in time and there is nothing like Jack Arnold yelling and swearing and personifying discipline to get the nerves settled. And all of us are still a little bit in love with Winnie Cooper: every heterosexual man is.

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