From The Couch Rd 17

By Nick Tedeschi at makingthenut.com

Raiders in Disarray: The Canberra Raiders have fallen apart at the seams. They are a club not only in crisis but a group of players who quite clearly despise each other, who have brought into their own hype and who have forgotten the fundamentals about what makes a good football team. It looks like the wild west in Canberra at the moment. Joey Leilua is mouthing off at anyone and everything, following up his abuse of Blake Austin with a sin bin last week. Jack Wighton has also taken to blowing up at teammates despite being unable to catch either a cold or a football. Austin has checked out. Aidan Sezer is playing like a legitimate Group 10 backup. Junior Paulo is playing without a care in the world. After their good run last season, Canberra players have brought into their own hype. And now one of the most talented teams in the premiership looks set to miss the Top 8.

DCE Disgrace: Queensland can call it hogwash all they like but the only reason Ben Hunt was picked over Daly Cherry-Evans is personality. DCE leads the NRL in try assists. Hunt was dropped to Ipswich a few weeks back. Here is an interesting stat on Hunt: This year the Broncos are 7-0 without Hunt starting and 3-6 when he does start. His selection makes zero sense.

Hayne Survives: What a terrible shame that Laurie Daley did not take a stance against selfishness and lair by dropping Jarryd Hayne. If the Blues don’t win this series, it is Hayne who must shoulder the biggest responsibility after his disgraceful performance in Game 2 where he could have wrapped the series up with a simple pass to an unmarked Brett Morris. Tom Trbojevic and James Roberts would both have been better calls.

Super Signing: Melbourne pull the right rein nearly every time and they’ve done so again in signing Robbie Rochow for the end of the season. Rochow couldn’t get a decent shot at Souths but will play a big role in the premiership front-runners’ march to a title that seems inevitable.

Comparison of the Week: Fire Up’s Kris Gale telling Fox League’s Yvonne Sampson she is “the Dusty Rhodes of Rugby League”.

2017 Field Goal Update – 20: It has been a great fortnight for field goals with six kicked across 15 games. Mitch Pearce and Mitch Moses both won games for their teams with golden point drop goals while Lachlan Coote, Shaun Johnson, Luke Brooks and Daly Cherry-Evans all slotted one-pointers. Coote and Cherry-Evans both slotted theirs on the stroke of halftime, very smart plays that deserve applause.

Fun Fact #1: Alex Johnston is the first player to score five tries in a game since Nathan Merritt in 2011.

Fun Fact #2: The last player to score six tries in a game was Jack Troy for Newtown in 1950.

Fun Fact #3: Only 38 players have scored 5 or more tries in a game in premiership history.

Betting Market of the Week: The true reason for Daly Cherry-Evans’ Origin snub:

$101: Ben Hunt is a better player in better form
$3.00: Lingering resentment at his Titans backflip
$1.20: Kevin Walter cannot cop a hyphen

Rumour Mill: Blake Austin is reportedly off with his teammates in Canberra and may be released early from his contract to sign elsewhere with Newcastle the favourites. The Lurker is reporting that Manu Vatuvei has played his last game for the Warriors with a likely contract at Salford on the agenda. Connor Watson is a done deal at the Wests Tigers.

Robbie Farah Anger Level – Low: Robbie is now playing 60 minutes straight and Souths are winning and posting some big scores …. Robbie is pretty chill at present.

What I Like About … Luke Lewis: Lewis does the small things as well as any player in the comp. He runs tough lines. He cleans up loose balls. He is a great decoy man. But two 90-metre intercept tries in two weeks is something else for a Rugby League geriatric.

Game of the Year Nomination – Round 16: Sydney Roosters – Melbourne, 25 – 24. Melbourne looked like they had caused a monumental upset at the Adelaide Oval before a late Roosters comeback on the back of some clutch kicking from Michael Gordon sent the game to golden point. Mitchell Pearce then kicked an unbelievable field goal to get the Chooks the win.

Game of the Year Nomination – Round 17: Brisbane – Melbourne, 12 – 42. The Storm absolutely smacked the Broncos from pillar to post but they were simply stunning to watch in doing so.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Nathan Brown’s time at Newcastle will not extend beyond this season. After being embarrassed 33-12 on home turf by a Tigers team without James Tedesco, it is a surprise he has made it to Monday. Brown has no doubt been charged with a very difficult job in rebuilding a club from scratch. It is the lack of progress this year though that should have everyone involved at Newcastle extremely worried. Simply, very few of the young players he has been charged with developing have really come on. Worse, players do not want to go and play for him. It is hard to see what Brown has done to be given more time.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Des Hasler did the right thing in dragging Michael Lichaa for Matt Frawley on Thursday night – and then made a meal of it by bringing Lichaa back on. Lichaa gave away the penalty that led to the Eels kicking the winning field goal. Canterbury, of course, didn’t touch the ball despite winning the toss with word sent down that the Bulldogs wanted to kick off, an idiotic move under current rules.

Beard Watch: It is very disappointing that we have a moustachioed gentleman atop the Willie M Medal but that is what we have with Aidan Sezer. Lucky his mo is nothing but a whispy bit of fluff that hardly does facial hair proud.

Correspondence Corner: Joey, I always thought you needed a good head for television so Buzz has given us all hope.

Jason, I agree he can be a match-winner and there are rocks or diamond players but when they become way more rock than diamond then it is time to cut the cord.

Lewis, I agree on all your points. I have no idea what people see in Ferguson. Pearce went missing big time in Game 2. And I am a firm believer that the clock should stop in all dead-ball situations.

Turvey Park, Alex Crichton is great, an absolute star. And from Steve Reardon country to boot!

CTPE, I could not disagree more vehemently that Smith was a good leader but you are right in that he did well not to get into bed with Ten.

Differential Penalty, the NRL needs to start dishing out real penalties for clubs who cover up injuries like the NFL do in taking away draft picks and handing out massive fines.

Tasman Tiger, spot on.

Watch It: With Alex Johnston scoring five tries against Penrith on Sunday, this week we go back to one of my favourite five-try hauls, Nigel Vagana’s against South Sydney in 2002, when Canterbury had outside backs who could run and score tries. Watch it here.

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