From the Couch Rd 14

By Nick Tedeschi


Raiders Roasted: The Canberra Raiders are done, roasted like a good lamb shoulder on a wintry July Sunday. Their bottlejob against Penrith in Bathurst will surely rank as one of the club’s worst losses. To put it in context: Canberra led 20-12 with fewer than four minutes to play and the ball over the Penrith goal line. They somehow conceded two tries in that time frame, consigning the club to another close defeat. Once again it was Junior Paulo’s laziness that cost them at the death, failing to cover on the inside. Canberra can’t recover from here. They have too much talent to miss the finals but they won’t be going to a Grand Final.

Origin Selection Notes: Game two is just over a week away with teams to be named for the second match on Tuesday, presumably, as there is no rhyme, reason or consistency as to when teams are named and how. There is no greater mystery in Rugby League.

NSW selection should be fairly straight-forward. There will be no changes though Tom Trbojevic’s strong return should see him come into the side for Brett Morris, despite Morris having an excellent opener, and Mitchell Pearce …. Well, there is no point in putting forward the argument, but he was ordinary at Suncorp.

Queensland have no choice but to make wholesale changes. Billy Slater will come into the team at fullback with Justin O’Neill mercifully dropped. Johnathan Thurston will return for Anthony Milford after a brilliant injury comeback against Parramatta. The forward pack will have an injection of youth – or at least should have – with Coen Hess and Jarrod Wallace expected to come in while Scott Bolton could make a late-career debut with Nate Myles, Aidan Guerra and Jacob Lillyman all surely done.

My Favourite Rugby League Media: I often get asked what I read and who I listen to when it comes to Rugby League. So this will become a semi-regular part of the column. It isn’t exclusive. And if there is something awesome, or something a little offbeat, something funny, something deep, fire it at me.

Zero Tackle: Best site for player transfer news and rumours.

William Hill Blog: Best NRL previews around.

Fire Up: The funniest hour in radio with Kris Gale and Stephen Ferris and occasionally AH Cayley. Funny, penetrating, just outstanding.

Rugby League Digest: If there is a kindred spirit of this article, it is this podcast, where no punches are pulled and plenty of laughs had.

Who Tipped What: Alby can pull a big name previewing the weekend ahead.

Ladies Who League: The hardest working woman in sport brings some rare positivity to the game.

Twitter Handles
@BoringNRLGuy: There is nothing in football that makes me laugh harder. This guy’s ridiculously straight-faced tweets are brilliant.

@winfield_cup: Old School Rugby League in a modern world.

Stuff You May Have Missed: If I am sure of one thing, if you enjoy this column, you will enjoy Andrew Voss’ new book that is a treasure for the trainspotter. So obsessive is it I found out he “invented” a football card game that my brother and I thought we invented.

Touchstones: I haven’t read Steve Mascord’s new tome but I will be when it lobs. Mascord is the most genuine man in football. He marches to the beat of his own drum. This will be a fabulous read.

TV Shows
NRL 360: The best magazine show on television. Deals with the issues in an intelligent way.

The Professor’s Second-Year Syndrome: Offbeat and quirky that hits the mark more than it misses. Loved Jarryd Hayne’s dream catcher and cocaine Guess Who. Mighty Mick Matheson is a winner.

2017 Field Goal Update – 13: James Maloney snapped a field goal to put Cronulla up 13-12 in a game they eventually lost 18-13.

Fun Fact #1: Ryan Hoffman’s only three losing seasons have been his three at the Warriors.

Fun Fact #2: Billy Slater has scored just one try for Queensland since the start of the 2012 season.

Fun Fact #3: Steve Stone was the Adelaide Rams’ top tryscorer during the 1997 World Club Challenge tournament.

Betting Market of the Week: Jared Maxwell’s chances of being recalled to first grade this week after his video blunder in the Manly-Newcastle match:

$1.01: Yes
$101.00: No

Rumour Mill: There is plenty happening around South Sydney at the moment with the Bunnies strongly linked to signing James Maloney while Greg Inglis and Cody Walker supposedly want out. Will Chambers has been strongly linked with a move to Cronulla, as has Alex Johnston. Not everyone in the refereeing halls of power were immediately happy with Matt Cecchin’s outstanding refereeing performance in Origin I, reportedly disappointed with his failure to follow some process.

Robbie Farah Anger Level – Broken: Robbie Farah played 49 minutes against the Broncos for a total of 17 tackles and a single run. Farah seems both physically and mentally broken.

What I Love About … Coen Hess: His shot on Mitchell Moses was one of the great hits I have ever seen, totally legal, a bone-rattler for the ages.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 14: Penrith – Canberra, 24-20. This will go down as either the biggest bottle job in Raiders history or another incredible Panthers win pulled from the fire. Incredible finish at a fine country venue.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Despite signing a two-year extension earlier this season, speculation remains rife that Canterbury could part ways with Hasler at the end of the season if results don’t improve Hasler would hardly have any qualms after the parlous state he has left the club in. Chairman Ray Dib no doubt understands the pressure is squarely on him and he will throw Hasler to the wolves even if it means the embarrassment of an about-face and a multi-million dollar payout.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Any coach who thinks William Zillman is a competent first grader is off their rocker. Zillman has won just 13 of his last 39 games. Thin air is a better choice on the wing than Zillman.

Beard Watch: There is, sadly, a real lack of beards when it comes to the game’s top callers, an area more bereft of facial hair than even the typically clean-shaven referee brigade. This column would love to see Andrew Voss grow a Greg McCallum special, Warren Smith run a Cliff Lyons bushy mo, Matt Russell try a Junior Paulo with no mo, Ray Warren a salty Bill Hunter beard and Andy Raymond go on the full-on bikie look.

Correspondence Corner: Robbo and Davey G, there is no saving Channel Nine.

Paul Robertson, I don’t think you are Robinson Crusoe in your opinion.

CTPE, I enjoyed your naming of the Warriors coach.

Mark, I was stunned the man of the match award was not treated with more reverence too.

Adam Evo, hands were up.

Norths Tiger, the Round 1 side for next year does not look good: Hopoate, B Morris, J Morris, Lee, Montoya, Foran, Cronk/Frawley, Graham, Mbye, Woods, Jackson, Elliot, KlemmerF

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