From The Couch Rd 20

By Nick Tedeschi,

The Send Off Rule is Dead and So is Any Faith in Tony Archer: Sia Soliola should have been sent off. Anyone who disagrees is an idiot and a moron. In any era of the game, Soliola should have been marched. His hit was late and his hit was high. The moronic defenders of him show one photo supposedly in his defence that shows Soliola hitting Billy Slater with his shoulder in the head. That in itself is still a send off! Soliola came in deliberately late, he swing his arm and he collected Slater in the head. End of story. He will be suspended for at least four weeks and should be suspended for longer. It was a thuggish move even if Slater did slip and Soliola didn’t mean to get him high because he came in to hit him hard late.

As Craig Bellamy rightly said, if that wasn’t a send off, what does it take to get sent off? Does a player need to take an axe on the field and decapitate not only a player but a player who is not slipping?

The problem with the failure to send Soliola off is the light it clearly shines on the refereeing fraternity where a combination of a misguided sense of superiority and a fear of being chastised for creating an imbalance has left these idiots unable to make a decision based on the rules of the game but on some self-defined boundaries based on the supposed norms expected of a football game and technical interpretations that ensure they remain the only ones who can properly apply the rules.

Referees used to be in charge of the game. Each had their own personalities, their own style, their own bugbears. But they were in charge. They ran the game. Not anymore. Matt Cecchin certainly wasn’t in charge. No referee is. They all defer to the Bunker. They all worry about what the pocket ref thinks. They are all concerned about Tony Archer and his review. They have no bottle. They are worried about their reviews and not rocking the apple cart.

Ricky Stuart was ridiculous for most of his press conference but he was right: Tony Archer and the referees need to be held accountable. Matt Cecchin at worst will be dropped for a week. Nothing will happen to Archer. There may be some acknowledgement of wrongdoing but that will be it. No attitudes will change There will be no cultural shift or 180-degree turn in mindset.

There is absolutely no professionalism in the refereeing leadership. None. Tony Archer actually believed Cecchin had a shocker after Origin I, the one game the referees have been praised for, because he did not follow process.

Archer is not a leader. He is a process man. He just doesn’t get it.

It is infuriating and like a bunch of termites, it is eating the game from the inside out.


Daley To Get Another Year: If the state of New South Wales has any bottle whatsoever, a sanctioned horde will march from State Parliament to wherever George Peponis and Dave Trodden happen to be with pitchforks, grab them, put them in the boot of a car and dump them somewhere beyond these borders. These two – along with the complicit board of NSWRL directors – are traitors to this state for offering Laurie Daley a one-year extension after this debacle and a long history of losing, the endemic cultural issues and the selection conservatism that has seen so many players picked for money and reputation over talent and form.

This decision was made before an independent review, that has supposedly been commissioned, has even begun. The review is clearly a whitewash to say all is fine, the players are fine, the coach is fine, NSW is fine.

It is an absolute joke. These clowns are the jokers that have cost this state so many series. And they are about to cost us more.

Here is the full board of the NSWRL. Every one of these bastards who supported the extension should be dumped.

George Peponis
John Chalk
Ray Dib
Geoff Gerard
Nick Politis
Bob Millward
Deborah Healey
William ‘Smiley’ Johnstone

Backdoor Cover Heaven, Backdoor Cover Hell: It was a wild weekend of finishes for gamblers with three games going right down to the final play – or non-play –  for line bettors. Souths punters on the +8.5 were home until a late grubber and Ricky Leutele dash spoiled that. Warriors punters can feel most aggrieved. They had +10.5 and led by six with 30 seconds left and the ball on the Warriors line. Then Javid Bowen scooped up a loose ball, ran 90 metres and scored a try that sent minus punters into a frenzy and plus punters into despair. The baddest beat arguably though came in the Raiders game. Depending on the line you got – it moved between 5.5 and 6.5 – the extraordinarily rare decision to pass on the kick though was either a godsend or the most infuriating moment of the season.

2017 Field Goal Update – 22: Corey Norman kicked his first career field goal to give the Eels a 17-16 victory over the Tigers.

Fun Fact #1: Matt Dufty had more try assists 60 minutes into his NRL career than Josh Dugan has had in 17 games this season.

Fun Fact #2: Josh Dugan has three try assists in his last 51 games across the last three seasons.

Fun Fact #3: St George Illawarra have not posted 50 points since putting 58 on Canberra during the 2007 season.

Betting Market of the Week: Tony Archer’s future at the NRL:

$501: Sacked
$2.10: Maintains job as referees boss
$1.70: Promoted to CEO for doing such a wonderful job

Rumour Mill: The Wests Tigers have made a late play for Blake Ferguson despite his myriad off-field issues. They are also in the hunt for Robbie Rochow next year. Jeremy Latimore is expected to move to Melbourne next year. Aidan Sezer is apparently Canterbury’s backup plan if they miss out on Cooper Cronk, which they likely will. Leilani Latu will be at Newcastle in 2018.

Robbie Farah Anger Level – High: South Sydney are done for the year and Robbie is going to have a much-diminished role for the remainder of the year.

What I Like About … Matt Dufty: What a debut! He was absolutely sublime, bobbing up like a monkey on ice, everywhere at once. Dufty is exactly the kind of outside back the Dragons need. He is fast, excitable, elusive. He is reminiscent of a young James Tedesco with the way he moves. He is a Grade-A superstar in the making. The Dragons should move Dugan to the centres for the remainder of the year with him moving to the Sharks and the Saints can actually have an attack with some impact.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 20: North Queensland – New Zealand, 24 – 12. Fast, desperate, plenty of action and one of the great backdoor covers for punters.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Des Hasler’s contract is sure to be torn up at Canterbury at the end of the year with one source suggesting the Bulldogs have already inked a replacement for 2018. While it is not confirmed because Ray Dib has made a habit of going rogue the signing will be huge news if true, which I believe it is as the coach has not been previously linked to the club and is a high-profile name. At any rate, Hasler’s time at the Bulldogs is done. The club is prepared to pay him out. He will finish at the end of 2017.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Ricky Stuart coming out after the loss to the Storm and declaring that it was the Raiders’ best performance of the year and that Canberra were stitched up by the referees. Melbourne were without Cameron Smith and Billy Slater for the second half, Canberra should have been down to 12 men and every call other than some no-call offsides went Canberra’s way. They lost because they have a fullback who drops everything, they can’t find touch off a penalty, they throw stupid passes and give away stupid penalties. When Ricky is looking to deflect attention from his team’s rotten performance, he should perhaps pick a more appropriate time to pull this old chestnut.

Beard Watch: There seems to be no thicker beard in the NRL than that of Michael Jennings. If you stuck your hand in, it would come out scratched and bleeding like if you tossed your mitt into a giant scourer.

Correspondence Corner: Tony Monero, surely nearly every fan would rather a premiership win.

Davey G, I could live with Walker and Api. I think Watson could be playing a bit of hooker next season.

CTPE, looks like he will get another year!

Steve, the one thing you can’t continue to do is pick proven failures at Origin level.

Watch It: The Toronto Wolfpack are the most interesting club in Rugby League. They have big ambitions, they are making an impact in Canada and now they are recruiting NRL players. Watch one of their You Tube shows here.


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