From the Couch – Rd 18

From The Couch: Round 18, 2018 by Nick Tedeschi @

The NRL and the Height of Farce: Only the NRL could be incompetent enough to take away from one of its showpiece events by cutting corners and then covering up a simple element of the post-game. They managed it though with the farce that was awarding Billy Slater the ‘Man of the Series’ award. There is absolutely no way Slater was the player of the series. He didn’t even play in Game I, was solid in Game II and then was again good in Game III. The Blues dominated the series though and the likes of Damien Cook, James Tedesco, James Maloney and Boyd Cordner were all better.

The NRL deserve plenty of blame. Their idiotic system was given less care than the Willie M Medal. To then throw two Queenslanders on with one New South Welshman was bound to lead to rightful accusations of bias. The League then opted not to release the votes, ensuring there was almost certainly a conspiracy to give Slater the award.

A word should also be afforded to the judges. While Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley and Darren Lockyer are all Origin legends, they hardly seem to be the best judges. Daley’s credentials speak for themselves. Lockyer sounds like he hardly watches a game these days. Meninga has only managed to make himself look good by surrounding himself with smart people – smart people who were sadly missing when he both submitted his votes and made his arrogant and misguided statement afterwards that the judges see a lot more than the rest of the public.

The amount of people who should lose their job over this is staggering.

The NRL and the New Height of Face – A Sequel: The NRL should find it hard to continually keep topping themselves for the most absurd decision of the year but they have pulled it off with the ridiculous call to award Sean O’Sullivan a try. Everyone knew he knocked the ball on. O’Sullivan knew. The Roosters knew. The Titans knew. The fans knew. But not Bryan Norrie, who sat in the box and came up with the most criminally insane decision of the year. He should be immediately committed – he has clearly lost his mind. Bernard Sutton’s admission of fault means absolutely nothing. There is no accountability in the NRL refereeing ranks and until there is somebody in charge who understands the game, the game is cast.

Canberra Complaints Ridiculous: The whinging coming out of Canberra about Jack Wighton’s suspension is utterly absurd. Wighton was suspended for 10 weeks by the NRL. He was lucky not to cop a lot longer given the severity of the charges against him. The Raiders should have taken the opportunity to rid themselves of their most inept first grader.

2018 Field Goal Update – 27: Daly Cherry-Evans added a drop goal to take the season tally to 27 in 18 weeks.

Fun Fact #1: Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall played together for the first time since Round 26, 2013 – a game the Tigers lost 50-22.

Fun Fact #2: Ahn Do’s Footy Legends grossed $336,000 when released in 2006.

Fun Fact #3: Gareth Widdop has a 106-72-1 record in the NRL with dark hair and a 0-1 record with peroxided hair.

Betting Market of the Week: Andrew McCullough v Esme from A Country Practice, 12 rounds, no gloves:

$2.30: Andrew McCullough
$1.65: Esme

Rumour Mill: The hottest rumour in Rugby League is that Ben Barba is on his way back to Cronulla. Corey Oates has been touted to be off to Souths but the Roosters are a more likely destination. Issac Luke has been linked with a return to the Wests Tigers as he looks to shift back to Sydney. Brock Lamb is expected to shift to Parramatta in 2019. Connor Watson is also forecast to move on with the Storm rumoured to be a possibility. Tyrone Roberts will be back at the Titans in 2019.

Key Stat for a Player Who Should Not Be Playing First Grade: Ash Taylor has won just 23 of 63 first grade games played.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 18: St George Illawarra – Wests Tigers, 16 – 20. The Tigers played a composed game to cause one of the upsets of the season.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Parramatta’s insipid season will almost certainly claim the scalp of Brad Arthur. The Eels have just three wins and they are clearly not playing with heart, confidence or effort. Their loss to Newcastle was another low point of a very low season. If Arthur does go, St Helens coach Justin Holbrook should be the first coach they look to.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Garth Brennan has made a habit of making some idiotic calls since he has taken the reins at the Titans. His call to send the decision down that the Titans should take the tap when down eight with 12 minutes to go though was just dumb. Always get within a score if possible and this was a throwover. The Titans play arguably the dumbest football in the NRL and their coach is not helping eradicate that.

Beard Watch: Sam Thaiday has consistently carried one of the best beards in the NRL, donning one for what seems like well over a decade. It was brilliant to see the Warriors show him some real respect after their win against the Broncos.

Correspondence Corner: Mike Butterfield, Queensland could not have got any more favours.

Jason, Mick Crocker’s beard is exceptional.

Davey G, Daly was probably the best on the field last Wednesday.

Watch It: Ian Walsh was one of the great players the game has known, named among the 100 greatest in 2008 and regarded as desperately unlucky to miss out on the Team of the Century. Here he is talking about his rise from bush footy. Watch it here.

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