Season 2009: Round 8

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


From The Couch

Representative Selections: Australian, City and Country selectors proved once again the devastation opium addiction can cause with some of their choices for rep positions. Some were strange, others were odd and some further just plain dumb. Here are the worst:

Steve Simpson (Country): New South Wales selectors indicated they were going for a corps of young backrowers for Origin this season yet an aging and always-injured Steve Simpson was selected. Somehow Nathan Hindmarsh and Craig Fitzgibbon are considered too old yet Simpson is fine to play. And Simpson got the nod over one of the in-form forwards in Luke Douglas. Not surprisingly, Simpson got injured in his comeback game on Saturday night and has been ruled out.

Jarryd Hayne (City): Amazingly was selected ahead of Colin Best for a City wing spot. Astounding considering he is lucky to still be playing first grade.

Ben Hornby (Country): I like Ben Hornby but not even Hornby’s family would argue he is playing the quality of football that teammate Jamie Soward is. Luckily Hornby was ruled out at the medical and Soward has been jettisoned in.

Josh Perry (Country): Perry averages 71 metres and 19.9 tackles per match this season. Luke Douglas averages 120.7 metres and 35 tackles per match. Who got picked for rep honours? Josh Perry. How does that make any sense?

Adam Cuthbertson (City): Seemingly his 32.5 minutes per match netting 71.9 metres and 17.2 tackles were enough to convince City selectors that Adam Cuthbertson was worthy of City selection. Interesting. And monumentally stupid.

Jamie Lyon (Country): He doesn’t want to play!

Anthony Watmough (Australia): Watmough would not rate in the ten best backrowers in Australia at present yet somehow weaselled his way onto the Australian bench. Watmough is a flat track bully who looks a star when the going is good but is lazy and useless when the going gets tough. The going has been tough at Manly this year and Watmough has done nothing.

Bringing Back the Preseason Competition: Talk has been rife over the last few weeks than the NRL is considering bringing back the preseason competition. A financial backer has already been found with the company prepared to pay all prizemoney and appearance fees. There would be plenty of benefits in reintroducing the preseason competition. The prizemoney will be a financial relief to many clubs; meaning would be added to the currently useless trial matches played; rugby league fans would be given something meaningful to cheer earlier on. It would also provide an opportunity for the NRL to shorten the regular season by a game or two. Hopefully David Gallop and the CEO’s see the opportunity a preseason competition would present and jump on board as soon as possible.

Another Meaningless Field Goal: It has been a tremendous fortnight for the meaningless field goal with Stacey Jones this week knocking off Jamie Soward’s round seven field goal for the top meaningless field goal of the season. Jones snapped a one-pointer on the stroke of half-time to put the Warriors up 7-2 at the turn…a score that has not been seen for many years in Australian rugby league. The final score was just as amusing with the scorebook reading the Dragons winning 12-11.

Time Wasting Penalty: Referee Steve Lyons gave a most enjoyable penalty on Saturday night when he penalised Penrith’s Jarrod Sammut for time wasting at a drop out. The Panthers were on the rack just before the break when Sammut was slow to approach the kick and then bounced the ball on the ground after Lyons had blown his whistle for the kick to take place. Panthers players took off, thinking Sammut was going to kick the ball. It was a debacle and worthy of a penalty.

Congratulations: Darren Lockyer. 300 games is an amazing feat and one only the truly great achieve. Lockyer has been an ornament to the game and is without doubt one of the two best players of this generation. He has excelled at both fullback and five-eighth and is the most respected player in the game today. If any player is to break the first grade record of 349 games held by Terry Lamb and Steve Menzies, it is Lockyer who deserves the honour.

Wonderful Happenings at the Home of Steve Reardon: Temora is a wonderful town that reveres its sporting heroes. They have a memorial to the great pacer Paleface Adios. A statue of the great Steve Reardon, Temora’s greatest rugby league player (you heard me Trent Barrett) is believed to be in the works. And it won’t be long before a dedication is erected to Yodelling Kerry, the greyhound part-owned by this writer and a cadre of loose-moralled types, who strode to a 4 ¼ length maiden victory in the opener at Temora on Sunday. It was young Kerry’s fifth start and it was her finest. Threatened with an existence down the bottom of a well, Kerry jumped the boxes and was never headed. Bigger, brighter lights await. Soon even Steve Reardon will make his was into town to watch this brilliant young flyer.

Fun Fact #1: The name Ivan does not and never has ranked in the top 100 most popular Australian boys names. It is doubtful it has ever ranked in the top 1000.

Fun Fact #2: Only 4 of the 8,847 players to have played a premiership match in Australia have been called Ivan: Ivan Cleary (Manly, Norths, Roosters, Warriors), Ivan Dickinson (Parramatta), Ivan Henjak (Dragons, Canberra, Wests) and Ivan Jones (Souths, Wests).

Fun Fact #3: Two of the sixteen NRL coaches, or 12.5% of current NRL mentors, are named Ivan.

Coaching Stocks:







Kevin Moore

Another gritty victory for the Bulldogs. His ability to turn the club around cannot be underestimated.



Wayne Bennett

Benny continues to get the job at the Dragons. The Dragons were off on Sunday but still got the points: a great sign.



Brian Smith

A huge win over Brisbane after losing Cross. The backline is a threat from anywhere on the field and defence is top notch.



Ivan Henjak

Disappointing to lose on Lockyer's 300th. Seemed flat in attack. Defence could be a problem if they don’t start moving up.



John Cartwright

The Titans snuck home over the Bunnies in a good match. Preston in the six seems the best play at this stage.



Tim Sheens

To get within a conversion of the Dogs sans Benji was outstanding. The Tigers are playing with plenty of heart.



Craig Bellamy

Big win in the GF replay. Finch has added some life to the attack. Great signing.



Ivan Cleary

The Warriors were again tough on the back of a brutal match with the Storm. Only just lost. Deserves time.



Jason Taylor

The Bunnies showed plenty of spirit in losing to the Titans. Were a little stiff in the end. Sandow at 7 remains unconvincing.



Matt Elliott

The Panthers continue to surprise. Elliott got a new deal on the back of a good start. The demons of '08 seem to be gone.



David Furner

Bad loss to Penrith in a game they should have won. Needs to get the attack firing regularly. Decision to drop Croker odd.



Neil Henry

A horrible loss to the Eels when the Cows were looking to build up some momentum. Consistency a major problem.



Des Hasler

Manly were very ordinary in the GF replay. They have little strucutre or spark in attack. Attitude a big problem.



Daniel Anderson

A pressure relieving win on Friday night. The club is still in dire straits but he seems to have found a way to win.



Brad Fittler

Struggled to get home against the Sharks. Still hasn’t been offered a new deal for 2010. He doesn’t seem cut out for the gig.



Ricky Stuart

Lost at home to the Roosters, the club is on the verge of going broke, his reputation is now at an all-time low. Rough.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 8: Bulldogs-Tigers, 22-20. It was a classic see-saw battle between two form teams. The Bulldogs scored. The Tigers responded. The Bulldogs scored. The Tigers responded. The Tigers hit the front. The Bulldogs hit back. In the end it came down to a missed Shannon Gallant conversion, the Bulldogs holding on in a genuine nail-biter. The highlight of the match, however, was the ding-dong battle between the two contenders for the New South Wales number nine, Michael Ennis and Robbie Farah. The clash had been built up all week and the battle of the hookers didn’t disappoint. Ennis and Farah were both outstanding with Ennis probably just getting the nod because of his toughness and grit. A brilliant match.

The Colin Best Express Fan Revue: The stupidity of representative selectors was really on display on Sunday night when our beloved Colin Best Express was left out of the city side. Somehow Jarryd Hayne got in ahead of him despite the fact Hayne has had no more than three decent games over the last two years and his coach thinks he is unfit and lazy. It is a complete outrage that CBE missed selection. Worse, the uncoordinated Ben Pomeroy and the whining Brett Delaney are the front-runners to replace Michael Jennings if he fails to pass the medical. The Colin Best Express must be shattered…so spot him a shoulder to cry on if you see him in the street. He may need it.

What Did Shane Rodney Do This Week? Shane spent the week reminiscing with a number of players from the 2004 City/Country match, where Rodney came off the bench, wondering what the hell happened. Rodney, Daniel Abraham, Sam Harris, Brad Drew and Ryan O’Hara got together and commiserated and cursed the fates that led to each of them failing to take advantage of the opportunity given. Abraham now plays Queensland Cup, Harris went back to rugby, Drew was run out of Canberra and O’Hara has fled to Wales after injury left him with only 8 first grade caps over the last two seasons. And “Sugar” Shane, well, he has never quite reached the heights he did in 2004 thanks to injury upon cruel, cruel injury.

Beard Watch: Referee Brett Suttor caught the eye with his wispy and patchy teenage-boy “beard”. Suttor, a ginger, appears to have adored his gaunt face with a sauce-coloured helmet strap. It is a strange look and not one that really commands authority. Rather, you get the feeling he is going to jump out at you and ask for 20 cents for the bus with an inextricably long tale about how he came to be short of money and how important it is he gets home. Still, young Suttor gets marks for having a go.

Thems Were The Days: This year marks the 25th anniversary of the last player selected to represent New South Wales from a country club. It was 1984 and Rex Wright was plucked out of North Newcastle to play hooker for the Blues. Wright had been strong for Country in the annual City-Country match and got the nod over Penrith rake Royce Simmons in a somewhat surprising selection. The Blues proceeded to lose 29-12 and Wright, along with a number of players on that losing team, were dropped. Wright went on to play 44 games over three seasons with Norths before retirement. One of the great shocks of Wright’s selection, however, was that it came after the disaster of the Phil Duke experiment in 1982. The name Phil Duke will live in rugby league infamy after Duke was plucked from the obscurity of the Moree Boomerangs to play for New South Wales. Duke, a speedy winger, was called in for the deciding match of the series in what was the biggest moment of the young speedster’s life. History would suggest Duke was not up to the occasion. With the game hanging in the balance, Duke was surprised when thrown a pass in the Blues own in-goal by fullback Phil Sigsworth. Duke spilt the ball, Wally Lewis cleaned it up, scored the try and Queensland won the game and series. Duke never again played for New South Wales or Country for that matter. Five years later, Duke spent the first of two fruitless seasons at Western Suburbs but there was nothing he could do to escape his legacy. Phil Duke would always be the nobody who made one of the biggest clangers in Origin history. It was etched in stone and that is how it is.

Fantasy Team of the Week:

1. P.Campbell (GC)
2. H.El Masri (Bul)
3. J.Hayne (Par)
4. G.Cooper (Pen)
5. B.Ryan (Tig)
6. J.Mullen (New)
7. J.Thurston (NQ)
13. P.Gallen (Cro)
12. A.Laffranchi (GC)
11. G.Stewart (Man)
10. L.Stuart (Sou)
9. R.Farah (Tig)
8. L.Douglas (Cro)

Geurie Greens Update: The Greens won the most anticipated match-up of the season with the 7-0 Geurie outfit easily defeating a disappointing 6-1 Tuncurry T-Rex team. Aaargh! Nobody really shone for the Greens but nobody really failed either. Luke Douglas was Geurie’s best, just ahead of the usual suspects of Soward, Stagg, Price and Bailey. Geurie this week meet Silverton, the last team Geurie will need to knock off to sweep the first half of the FFL season.

What I Hate About Rebecca Wilson This Week: Well, lets see what her weekly smut has in it this week: an allegation against Craig Wing’s sincerity, a snippet on an NRL player who is involved in a homosexual relationship (no names and no source, of course) and some uncouth innuendo relating to soccer star Dwight Yorke. All top class stuff.

Watch It: This clip (
showing Willie Mason for the useless fool he is offers a few chuckles and more than one nod of agreement. It won’t waste your entire day but it will put a smile on your face. Watch it.

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