From the Couch Rd 11

By Nick Tedeschi.

Prepare for More Disappointment – It’s Origin Selection Time: There aren’t many times of year where I get the urge to take four temazipan, drink a gullet-full of Hemmingways and hope beyond hope for a bit of Rip Van Winkle action but this time every year, when the NSW Origin team is selected for Origin I, that is what I want. The lessons of history are never learned. A team to win is never picked. All hope of success is dashed before a ball has been kicked.

Unfortunately, Blues Origin selection is typically more conservative than a North Shore Young Liberals meeting of the subcommittee examining the merits of lowering fees to one of their private schools while doing lines of coke and eating pizza with fruit on it … probably pear. The coach always picks a team that won’t rattle the media and will likely get the Blues close enough to ensure he gets another crack. His advisor usually gets one or two slots, just to maintain his club powerbase. There should be a Royal Commission opened into it really but nobody in the Liberal state government cares.

Unfortunately, we can’t all be Marina Go and blank on who the Blues coach is.

Let’s start with what will be the worst of it. Mitchell Pearce will be recalled. Apparently 15 games with just four wins isn’t enough evidence to show that he is a good club footballer who can’t make the step up. We need to make him the state’s most capped half to reinforce it. I was writing about this five years ago and am a beaten man sitting here writing about it now. Poor Adam Reynolds. Daley’s selective view on loyalty – the one that goes to Pearce, Robbie Farah, Matt Moylan, James Tamou, Josh Dugan – doesn’t go his way.

Daley will probably find a place for Moylan. He always seems too. Never mind the fact Moylan has been awful all season and the Panthers are languishing and the fact he embarrassed his club and was suspended. Loyalty. He will probably come in for James Tedesco, who was outstanding last year and has been good enough in 2017 in a rotten team.

Josh Dugan and Jarryd Hayne will be given the express-lane right into the team. Dugan can’t stay fit. Hayne hasn’t played well since returning from the NFL. It doesn’t matter. Get them in.

Robbie Farah’s time is apparently up but in what can only be viewed as a sick vision of Laurie Daley’s sense of perverted humour, he was set to be replaced by a plodder who played Origin a decade ago and was nearly cut by his own club 18 months back.

I won’t even venture to talk about props or Paul Gallen. It is time to call the doctor. I need those sleeping pills.

Tedeschi’s Origin I Team: The team I would be picking for Origin I – and in brackets, who Laurie will probably pick.

1 James Tedesco (Matt Moylan)
2 Blake Ferguson
3 James Roberts (Josh Dugan)
4 Jarrod Croker (Jarryd Hayne)
5 Latrell Mitchell
6 James Maloney
7 Adam Reynolds (Mitchell Pearce)
8 Paul Vaughan (Aaron Woods)
9 Damien Cook (Peter Wallace)
10 Andrew Fifita
11 Boyd Cordner
12 Tyson Frizell (Wade Graham)
13 Josh Jackson
14 Cody Walker (Jack Bird)
15 Jake Trbojevic
16 Ryan James (Jordan McLean)
17 Wade Graham (Tyson Frizell)

Dugan Dud Deal for Sharks: There is no doubt at all Josh Dugan is a talented footballer. He is an outstanding kick returner and he can bust a tackle. The problems far outweigh the benefits Dugan offers though at the price he signed at. For starters, nobody knows Dugan’s position. He offers some wonderful things at fullback but the fact he can’t ball play puts him a step behind nearly all of his No.1 counterparts. Then there is the fact that he is always injured. Even when he is healthy, he is injured. Then there is a guy called Valentine Holmes, the talented player who is thriving in the No.1 jersey. Dugan could succeed at the Sharks. The odds are though that he won’t repay his hefty pay-packet.

2017 Field Goal Update – 10: Sadly we haven’t seen a field goal in the NRL this weekend but the despair at no NRL action was more than offset by one of the finest field goals I’ve ever heard of. Lakes United, getting towelled 40-0 by Maitland, slotted a field goal in the dying seconds to go down 40-1. The Seagulls are now the favourite country team of this column. If any reader has footage, please send it through or tweet me @nicktedeschi.

Fun Fact #1: Only 1 of the 54 players named by Ricky Stuart in 2012 in the ‘Blues in Waiting’ team have gone on to play for NSW – David Klemmer. Of the 54, only 12 have a regular first grade gig five seasons later.

Fun Fact #2: NSW have averaged just 11.33 points per game under Laurie Daley.

Fun Fact #3: Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach called zero games for Fox Sports this weekend.

Betting Market of the Week: Position Josh Dugan will play at Cronulla next season:

$2.10: Fullback
$2.30: Centre
$4.00: Wing
$1.20: Head of Social Club and President of the Epic Bender Crew

Rumour Mill: Speculation on the future of Cooper Cronk has swung in favour of retirement and a media career. Dane Gagai is expected to leave Newcastle with South Sydney and Cronulla the two teams in the running to snare his signature. Melbourne have opened the chequebook with Sam Kasiano expected to sign for 2018, Nate Myles likely to make a move mid-season and Cody Walker eyed as a target after expressing his displeasure with Souths. St George Illawarra are expected to sign Alex Johnston in the coming weeks. Jarryd Hayne is expected to re-sign with the Titans due to a lack of interest from other NRL clubs.

Robbie Farah Anger Level – Extremely Low: A potential injury early in the Panthers-Knights game to Peter Wallace has Farah a red-hot favourite to retain his Blues No.9 jersey.

What I Like About … The Canberra Raiders: The Raiders brought back the mousetrap on Saturday night, the first time in two decades the delightful tactic has been used. Nathan Brown would have been proud.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 11: Parramatta – Canberra, 16 – 22. Not a great weekend of games. At least this one was close.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Anthony Griffin has to be under pressure at Penrith. Regardless of the results the last few weeks, the Panthers are playing so far below both potential and expectation it is embarrassing. The Panthers are playing lazy and without energy and they are showing no respect for the ball. Ivan Cleary – a far better coach than Griffin – was sacked by Phil Gould getting more out of less.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Brad Arthur’s decision to rush Mitchell Moses into the Eels team for his club debut worked as well as expected. Moses was horrific. He is horrific at his best. On debut for the Eels, he looked hopeless … and lost. Why any club would try to get Moses to join midseason is beyond my limited capacity to understand reason and logic.

Beard Watch: In what has to be a first for this column, a week after Matt Frawley was praised for his outstanding beard, he has shaved the thing off. The power of beard watch.

Correspondence Corner: Strettell, the attitude of a team comes directly from the coach. Sadly he is far too nice a bloke to be a good first grade coach, particularly at the Warriors, who are a rabble mentally at present. Spot on about Thompson though. Liability.

Tony Monero, it is terribly frustrating.

Gaz, Leave me out of Hayne as well.

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