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Bring Back the Bears: News came out this week that the North Sydney Bears were prepared to launch a bid to buy the Gold Coast Titans. It would be smart of the NRL to actually work with the Bears for a number of reasons. For starters, the Gold Coast has not been able to build a strong brand with a sustainable financial model since entering the big league in 1988. Additionally, the Titans brand has always been on the nose since previous owners gipped every sub-contractor between Tweed Heads and Caloundra. Claiming stability is a nonsense argument. The Bears model is a smart one. Based on the Titans. A game at North Sydney Oval and two on the Central Coast, tapping into three communities as well as history. They have four licensed clubs behind them. And they have history. The Bears should not go back to North Sydney. The Central Coast market on its own is not big enough for a team but putting them on the Gold Coast with links to those two places is well worth exploring.

The Bunker Is A Mess: The decision to disallow a try to Will Chambers on Thursday Night was wrong and the fact Tony Archer came out once again and defended shows he is not up for the job. Chambers planted the ball a touch short of the line and on natural momentum rolled at most a panel. It was an obvious try. The referees are never going to get better when they are both taught and protected like this

Cody Walker Should Be an Origin Contender: There is arguably no more dangerous running half in the premiership than Cody Walker and on current form he is going as well as anyone. He is a late bloomer but boy has he bloomed. With his skillset he would be electric either starting or as the bench utility.

Billy is Back: There has been no better moment in Rugby League than seeing Billy Slater back. Slater has played just one game in two seasons. He was short a step but gee he looks like he still has the skill. Here is hoping he doesn’t get injured.

Nathan Ross is Chris Jericho: From the hair to the look, Nathan Ross is a dead-ringer for wrestling legend Chris Jericho. Jericho was a cult hero and Ross has quickly adapted that status to boot.

Punters Guide Subscription Service: If you don’t mind a punt on Rugby League and enjoy winning, sign up to the Punters Guide Tipping Service. Subscribers won 12.11% on turnover last season and are off to a flyer this year, to say the very least. As of writing, there had been one losing bet all year with punters up 18 units on 35 units bet. Email if you want details.

Who Tipped What: Need a leg-up with your footy tips? Go to the new site ‘Who Tipped What’ where Australia’s best and brightest Rugby League judges – along with Buzz Rothfield – have their tips tracked. As of writing, your author leads the way with an 19-3 record. Hopefully that continues and I finish the season top. You have to dream big.

2016 Field Goal Update – 1: There has been no additional field goals added in Round 3, meaning there has been a shockingly low one field goal to date.

Fun Fact #1: Robbie Farah made his debut in 2003 but did not make a start until 2005, where he crossed for a double.

Fun Fact #2: Courtesy of Dan Ginnane – Blake Green’s record with all halves partners not named Cooper Cronk is 1 win and 24 losses.

Fun Fact #3: The last player sent off in the NRL was David Shillington in 2015.

Fun Fact #4: Rugby League Week survived an incredible 47 years.

Rumour Mill: Jack Bird is well in the sights of Newcastle for 2018 and will almost certainly go where the most money is on offer. Despite a win in Dunedin, the knives remain out for Des Hasler with speculation rife that Dean Pay will replace the Bulldogs coach this season. More likely is Ivan Cleary joining at season’s end. The Bulldogs have emerged as a contender for Tui Lolohea. Lolohea will definitely leave the Warriors. Josh Dugan may end up at Newcastle next season with the Dragons ready to cut him loose. Don’t be surprised to see the Saints start Jai Field at fullback next season with club insiders believing that is his best position.

Betting Market of the Week: The odds of Sam Thaiday getting charged for any of the following –

$1.04: Fighting – Third Man in
$1.30: Eye gouge
$2.00: Bite
$2.50: Testicle grabbing
$3.00: Hopoate finger insertion
$4.00: Terrorism
$5.50: Perjury
$6.00: Murder in the conservatory with the lead pipe

Robbie Farah’s Anger Level – Medium: Happy with the win but was very poor personally in his 250th game.

What I Like About … Marcello Montoya: Welcome to the NRL. Hopefully he stays there. The Bulldogs have finally unearthed an outside back who can both run and catch. He was outstanding on debut against the Warriors and must maintain his top grade spot even when the injured brigade return.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 3: Penrith – Sydney Roosters, 12-14. This was one of the best games of the year, a fierce defensive battle with moments of attacking brilliance. Both of these teams are the real deal. It was great to see Michael Gordon play the hero against his former side too.

The Coaching Crosshairs: It would be a major shock if Trent Barrett was still coaching Manly by the final round of the season. With a terrible roster and Bob Fulton gunning for him, he has no chance. The worst thing for Barrett has been new CEO picking a fight with Fulton and then seemingly accepting a truce. Fulton doesn’t do truces. He waits til he has the advantage and then destroys whoever dare challenged his patriarchy. Barrett is in a lot of strife and very little of it is his fault. Even the win over the Cowboys won’t save him.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Stephen Kearney’s edict to prevent the Warriors playing football cost them two points against Canterbury. The Bulldogs were there to get beat. Offloading and creating second-phase play works best against slow, lumbering teams … teams just like the Bulldogs. But despite being parked on the Bulldogs tryline, the Warriors refused to play football. Kearney is looking a lot more like the failed Parramatta coach than he is the strongly-performed national Kiwis coach.

Beard Watch: Korbin Sims has done something ridiculous to his hair that looks like a cross between a homeless hippy and Sideshow Bob. It is a classic Sims haircut to hid how poorly the family play football.

Correspondence Corner: Davey G, there has to be room found for Josh Reynolds. He either needs the right halves partner or to be shifted to hooker. Very harsh on Cameron Smith.

Mav63, there is no doubt the referees continue to be gutless.

Watch It: It is such a terrible shame that France is not the Rugby League powerhouse it once was. Here we go back to the third Test of the 1951 series in Australia. With the series locked at one apiece, Les Chanticleers lit up the SCG in a dominant 35-14 led by a hat-trick to Robert Crespo and a sublime goalkicking display by the incomparable Puig Aubert. Watch it here.


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